County Fair and Quilt Show Prep

I just returned from spending a couple of days up in Downieville.  We had the flooring replaced in the kitchen. Even though the kitchen is very small, this was a two day job for the installer.  The house is very old and not at all square or level.  It was a bit of a trick for him to create a relatively level surface on which to lay the flooring.

Before and after, bye bye green and gold!

We did things in reverse order with this room. We haven’t painted or updated the cabinets yet and Ray plans to put up some bead board in the little eating area but the two tone gold and green floors were awful so we had the new vinyl installed and we will just have to tarp it when the other projects are done. It will be a while before we tackle them and we were tired of looking at that flooring. I am happy to check this off the list as we make progress on this little house of ours.

As you know, Julia is raising pigs to show and auction at the county fair.  She will be there each day and it will be time consuming for her.  Since she isn’t yet driving, I will also be there quite a bit.  I decided to volunteer some time at the quilt exhibit and also to…. Yikes! ….. enter a few quilts. I have never done this. It just creates this vulnerable feeling to have someone judge my work. But I am going to do this. Here are the three projects I chose to enter and why I chose them.

Positively Floating; September 2016

I finished this quilt last fall. I love the design of it and the quilting.  This was the second time I quilted on a long arm and looking at it makes me want to do that again.  It was a lot of fun and so different from quilting with my home machine.

It needs a sleeve and label to be ready for the show.

I will also enter my THREAD quilt.

I made this quilt when I was writing the tutorial for relief quilting. I love this little quilt.

The relief quilting was great and the improv border was so much fun to create. I think the little spools of thread add whimsy to the piece. Luckily I have a sleeve on this quilt but it needs to be labeled.

Finally I chose to enter the Sweet Tweets baby quilt.

This is a bright, colorful piece will hopefully catch the eye of visitors to the show. I am happy with the quilting I did on it. It still needs a sleeve and label.

 

Hopefully the visitors coming through the exhibit will like it as well!

For the next couple of days I will be in prep mode. I am vending at a quilt show for the Truckee Meadows Quilt Guild.  It will be held in Reno, Nevada this weekend. It is about two hours from home but luckily my in-laws have a second home in Reno and they are graciously letting me stay there in the evenings. It would be too much to drive back and forth each night. I need to cut more fat quarter bundles and get a few other things ready so I doubt I will get any sewing done this week. If you are in the area, please come to the show and find my booth. I would love to say hi.  🙂  I will keep you posted on the show via Instagram and Facebook. I hope you will follow along with this this weekend!

Today is my husband’s birthday so I need to be baking a cake and he requested enchiladas for  his birthday dinner.  I am going to get the cake in the oven now before it gets too hot.  Have a nice day and keep cool with this crazy heat!

 

 

Small Finishes for This Week

This week sure buzzed by quickly. There was not a whole lot of time spent in the sewing room.  I have been spending quite a bit of time working on the shop; especially on the process of moving patterns from the first shop to the new shop. I think it is worth the time it takes.  I have had a number of sales from the new shop so I know people are finding it. I like managing the patterns separately from the fabrics. But it has taken a lot of time!

As far as sewing, I made two little projects for my sweet grand baby. My daughter in law asked me if I would make strap covers for their infant carrier. She even found the right pattern to use for the straps that fit her model carrier. I think this is a pretty smart move- the strap covers add some cushion if baby girl falls asleep with her face on those straps.  They also catch the drool that come along with baby. It is much easier to take the covers off and toss them in the wash then to wash the pack.
The pattern was a breeze to follow. I did have to make a quick trip to find some green fabric (it actually is green, but leaning to teal blue) for the covers. I had plenty of batting scraps for the filling and velcro for the closures.
These are entirely reversible which would have been fun if I had used two different fabrics but I didn’t.  The pack is a print of green and blue and it didn’t need another fabric in the mix. Baby also needs a little hood that will attach to the pack but I haven’t tackled that yet. I did buy plenty of the fabric though. Hopefully I will get to that in another week or so.

After making the little strap covers, I was in the mood to make something else for her. A few months ago, I purchased a collection of the older Cotton and Steel prints during a #destash on Instagram. I had not used any of them yet but as I poked through the bag, I found two prints that were perfect for a little sun hat.

Isn’t that the cutest thing? I had an old pattern from who knows what, so I can’t recommend it because you probably couldn’t find it anyway. There are many patterns like this though and a simple google search should be fruitful. It came together easily and I am hopeful it will fit. Her mama sent me the measurement of her head so if anything, it might be a little big.  I love the back side with a little bow.  Adorable.

I look forward to seeing it on her little head.  Finally, I started the memory quilt I am making for my nephew Sam.  He picked out an assortment of his football and baseball jerseys. He even sent a small one that he must have worn as a little boy. As suggested by several readers in the comments of an earlier post, I emailed Sarah from Confessions of a Fabric Addict to get her input.  She suggested a particular brand of fusible interfacing she likes for backing these projects. I ordered that and it is already here, ready and waiting for me.

My ever helpful daughter and I cut the jerseys up.

I was really nervous to cut into these. Before we started cutting, Julia and I folded them into little blocks and laid them out to get an idea of how I would make this. Then we cut the fronts from the backs leaving everything intact and as large as possible.  I think I will make a lot of 14″ squares with the majority of the jerseys.  Then I will cut miscellaneous bits and pieces that aren’t going to measure up as big but should be included (mascots, American Flags, etc).  Those will be bordered in red and fit into the puzzle where I can. I think it shouldn’t be terribly difficult. The next step is to stabilize this slippery jersey fabric. Sam is off to college in the fall so maybe, just maybe, I will have it done in time?  Well, at least during autumn? Ok, ok, definitely before he graduates college?  We will have to see!

This week is once again my week to sponsor the giveaway for the Sewcial Bee Sampler. I had a lot of fun hosting the giveaway at the end of June too.  If you are participating in the sew along, hop over to Maureen Cracknell’s or Sharon Holland’s blog to find out how to enter and win! It could be your lucky week! There is also a discount code for the Sewcial Bee quilters. Go check it out!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!  I am linking up to a few favorites. Find them at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Have you signed up for the Needle and Foot News yet? Published monthly, this newsletter provides an update on the latest fabrics to arrive at the shop, as well as any promotions or events happening at Needle & Foot. Click here or use the sign up form at the right side of the page, toward the top!

 

Dog Days of Summer

It is so hot outside, really just too hot. As I write, the thermometer on the deck reads 95 degrees, in the shade. This means it is about 100 billion degrees in the sun. Hence the reason I am inside playing on the computer! When it is like this, I try to go out early in the morning to do any chores that need to be done. Yesterday I was out early, dropping Julia off at the high school.  (She is volunteering as a teacher’s assistant for a class taught by her English teacher to a group of exchange students from France.) After dropping her off, I worked in the garden, dead heading roses. We have a nice selection of roses which we have to keep inside the fenced area to protect them from the ever hungry deer that wander our property.

The roses are slowing down a bit due to the heat but we still have some really pretty ones.

I spent about an hour working in the yard and while I trimmed and clipped, I listened to a recent podcast from While She Naps by Abby Glassenberg.  Episode 100 was an interview with Alissa Carlton of the Modern Quilt Guild. Even though I was familiar with much of the origin of the MQG, it was interesting to hear Alissa’s perspective as one of the founders of this ever growing organization. The podcast was made even more interesting when Alissa talked about her other job as a casting director for the reality TV show, Project Runway. I recommend this episode (and really, all of Abby’s podcasts) as it covered a lot of interesting topics.

This girl’s been working. Check out these boots.

Because Julia was working at the high school for the day, I helped her out by feeding and cooling off her girls, Ella and Daisy. Ella and Daisy are two market hogs Julia is raising as a project for 4-H.

Measuring Ella to monitor her growth.

This has been a great experience and I think she enjoys it for the most part. As with any animal project, she has had a few issues to deal with.  Ella, the show hog that Julia has been training to show at our county fair, is oddly uninterested in eating.  She isn’t gaining near the weight she needs to gain to qualify for showing at the fair and for selling at the auction at the end of the fair. This is baffling but Julia is treating it as a science project and trying her darnedest to get Ella to gain weight. She is mixing raw cow’s milk with her feed three times a day to entice Ella to eat more. (She gets the raw milk from her very kind 4-H leader who has a dairy cow.) She also makes tons of scrambled eggs to mix into Ella’s feed to make it more desirable.  So far, Ella isn’t having any of it. She snacks a bit and then gives the rest to her roommate, Daisy.  You can see where this is going. Daisy is gaining all kinds of weight!

Ella and Daisy keeping cool in the mud.

Besides concocting these meals for Ella three times daily (which Daisy eats for the most part!) Julia also has to keep them cool during these dog days of summer. Pigs do not tolerate heat well as they have no ability to sweat.  When Julia and Ray built the pen for the girls, they put misters in which is a great help. Julia also goes out multiple times throughout the day to hose both pigs down.  They LOVE this and it is adorable to watch how the play in the spray of the hose and try to drink the water.

If Ella’s slow weight gain continues, Julia will end up showing Daisy at the fair and auctioning her off instead of Ella.  Daisy is bred as a feeder pig, to be raised for meat.  She will not do well when shown at the fair but whomever is kind enough to purchase her at the auction will have a freezer full of great quality pork. Ella will be fed out until she is large enough and has put on enough fat to be butchered. It isn’t what Julia expected but this is life, right?

Even with all that has been going on around here, I had a bit of time to sew this week. I wanted to catch up on my blocks for the Sewcial Bee Sampler. Hosted by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland, this has been such a fun project. They created it to increase the connection amongst the on-line quilters and it has been really successful. Check out the #sewcialbeesampler on Instagram – there are more than 6,400 photos posted to it.

I have fallen behind on my blocks but I did get a few made this week. I tried to combine solids with fabrics by Maureen Cracknell, both her Garden Dreamer fabric line as well as the earlier line, Fleet & Flourish. But I was running dangerously low and still have several blocks to complete.  I had a funky size scrap of 1/2 of one Ex Libris panel by Alison Glass that I have been hoarding. I knew I would find the right thing to use it for and this is it. The colors work perfectly and I can fussy cut the bits of the panel to use just the parts I need.

Here is another block with a bit of Ex Libris in the center.

Sewcial Bee Sampler, 20 of 25 blocks

I had all of the blocks thus far completed arranged on the floor to look at the flow of color. I need to make sure the last five blocks are made with colors that balance well with what I already have. I think I want to frame one more with the light green and another with the mustard yellow.  As I looked at these, one block jumped out at me – How come I didn’t see the mistake??

I need to spend a few minutes taking apart the upper left corner. Oops!! There is one more block to be released this week and I have four that I still need to make. Then we will sash the blocks and start assembling the quilt top. I really love the blocks I have made thus far – this one is a keeper. It should finish at 72″ square.

Linking up with Oh Scrap and a few others.  Please check out the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Have you signed up for the Needle and Foot News yet? Published monthly, this newsletter provides an update on the latest fabrics to arrive at the shop, as well as any promotions or events happening at Needle & Foot. Click here or use the sign up form at the right side of the page, toward the top!

 

Fiesta Fun – A Whole Cloth Baby Quilt

I have such a bright, cheerful quilt to share with you!  This is the second time I have made a whole cloth baby quilt for a customer. The first time was last fall, when I did the elephant quilt.  Check it out here for the details. I very much enjoy making these. This quilt was a simple project because there is no piecing involved. My customer really loved the Mexican Dress fabric from Art Gallery Fabric’s Fiesta Fun line. This is actually the second time I have used this fabric line in a baby quilt.  The first time was when I made the Knock Knock quilt while pattern testing for Sarah Goer. The colors in this line are a fantastic mix of brights and pastels against a pure white background. It is a lot of fun for a baby quilt. There is much for baby to look at!

My customer and I emailed back and forth numerous times one night as she selected the backing and binding fabric. After having two boys, she is expecting a girl.  She wanted bold and bright colors so she went with a Ta Dot polka dot fabric from Michael Miller.  The polka dots were used for both backing and binding. I really think this was an excellent choice.

Rather than put the dots right up against the floral fabric, I suggested using a flange in a solid deep orange (Pure Elements in Tiger Lily from Art Gallery also).

 I think it is good to have a break between the bold orange dots and the busy floral fabric.

Quilting this was a lot of fun. For the most part, I outlined bits and pieces of the floral design. As I moved from one part to the next, I would add a loop or two.  Having this busy print was like having a stencil for the quilting. I didn’t outline everything though. For a baby quilt, I like to have some space between the quilting to keep the quilt soft.

The quilt finished at 40″ x 40″ and I gave it one trip through the wash before packaging it up to send to Texas. Hopefully Baby Camille will get lots of use out of this quilt for a long time to come!

Just in case you are in need of some gorgeous color in your sewing room, I do have all of these fabrics in stock in the shop.  🙂  I will be linking up this week with a few of my favorites. Check the tab at the top of the page for links!

Also, I want to let everyone know I drew two names for the giveaway of Carrie Bloomston’s book!  Congrats to Susan S. and Nancy H.  Here are their comments:

Susan S. said: “I would like to design a house that perfectly fits my life style and compliments it’s surroundings.”

Nancy H. said: “Great interview, Bernie. At one time, and not too long ago at that, I would have said that my one wish was owning a cozy, welcoming quilt shop where people felt as though they were home. Now, it’s a tough choice. The simple answer would be to finish my quilt in time for the show in two weeks! But I think it should be more substantial than that. You’ve really stumped me!”

It was so interesting to read the responses to my question, ” what would you try if you were guaranteed success?” There were lots of interesting ideas put forth.  Thank you for joining in!

Meet the Designer – Carrie Bloomston

Today I bring you another fantastic conversation with a talented, giving and very friendly artist, Carrie Bloomston. This is the fifth interview in my series, Meet the Designer. I have had the pleasure of getting to know some really fantastic women in the world of fabric design.  Previously I have posted interviews with Sarah Golden of Andover, Maureen Cracknell of Art Gallery Fabric, Kim Schaefer of Andover, and Sharon Holland of Art Gallery Fabric.  Each of these women have inspired me with their tales of how they design, what their process is and how they came to work for the company that creates their fabric.  Today’s interview will not disappoint. I loved every bit of the conversation I shared with Carrie.

Let’s get started!  Carrie Bloomston is currently designing fabric for Windham Fabrics. Her latest line, Dreamer, is a stunning collection of color and pattern with a bit of a southwestern feel.  We will touch on that in a bit though.  When I was reading about Carrie on various sites, prior to talking to her, I came across this bit she had written for her bio on the Windham Fabric site. Re-reading it, after talking to her, I realized it just describes her perfectly so I want to share it with you.

Life is so beautiful.
We are lucky.
We do cool things,
collect experiences,
and hopefully,
love well.

My work-
whether abstract painting,
designing patterns and fabric,
or parenting,
is all about expressing joy and love.

For me, art is a place to figure the world out-
to make sense of it.

After getting to know Carrie a bit, it became clear she treasures life and the ordinary experiences in day to day life. She is always eager to put those experiences into her art and writing, as well as her teaching and parenting. Carrie is a wife, mom to her two children ages seven and eleven years old, artist, author, and teacher. Like any working mom, she strives for balance.

Sweet family picture; Photo credit to Jill McNamara

I love the family picture she shared with me.  Take a look at the artwork on the wall behind them. They drew frames directly on the wall and have a place to display the kid’s artwork on an ever rotating basis.  What a cool idea!

Painting since she was thirteen years old, Carrie innately likes to ‘work big’. Small canvases feel constricting to her. She explained she wants to be able to use large gestures, painting from her shoulder, not her fingers. Because Carrie is a very tactile artist, I wondered how this translated to creating designs for fabric.  She explained to me she does not translate her art to an electronic file on the computer.  She hasn’t wanted to learn this part of the process.  She sends her paintings and sketches to Windham and they create the files for the manufacturing process. Carrie spoke highly of the process used when designing for Windham. She greatly appreciates their expertise in the conversion process and said they are wonderful to collaborate with. It takes some back and forth between Carrie and the in house designers to get the colors right which are based on a hand painted palette created by Carrie.

We talked about creating a line of fabric and how it comes to fruition. I loved the parallel Carrie used to explain her process. She said it is ‘like true jazz where one instrument starts and the others follow, as though a magnet were pulling them in’. So it is with the story her fabric lines tell. She gets an idea for a theme, creates a focal point, and then begins to design the other fabrics to tell the story. With her most current line, Dreamer, she thought about telling a story containing an earthly or ancestral feel. She wanted it to have a tribal element to it as well as a southwest feel. (Carrie lives in Arizona.) She went off to take a hike and paint inspired her.  While out there she tried to capture the spirit of the bees and this became one of the focus fabrics for the line.

She continued working to develop her story. While her son was studying Arizona Native American history, they found pictures of pottery on line. This process then provided inspiration for the broken pottery fabrics in the Dreamer line.

The line continued to develop in this fashion. As they worked together Carrie and Windham agreed to support the Xerces Society with this line. Each of them donate a portion of the earnings from Dreamer to Xerces in an effort to support the research and improvement of the declining bee population.

Within Carrie’s fabric lines, you might notice she often uses newsprint within her patterns. It might be the focus of the entire piece of fabric or just a small element within a complex print. She enjoys incorporating text and encouraging words within her fabrics. Also, illustrating with newsprint, she demonstrates her love of “elevating low materials to higher forms of art”.

Sometimes her projects might involve brown paper grocery bags and even styrofoam meat trays.  She loves to create vision boards with collages of newsprint and magazine clippings as well. Another reason to incorporate newsprint in her work is to memorialize the print media. As we all know, print media is in rapid decline with the rise of technology. It makes her happy to know that people will look at quilts made with her fabric years from now and read bits of print media.

Carrie learned to sew when she  was pregnant with her daughter. She joined a Sunday Sewing group and the women in the group taught her about sewing technique. She in turn enjoyed explaining her feelings about creating. Describing herself as a creative enabler, she strives to teach others to listen to their creative voice. In 2014 Carrie wrote her book, The Little Spark, 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity.  The book was published by Stash books, a division of C&T Publishing. You might want to watch this short video about her book.

When I first purchased the Dreamer line for my shop, I did a bit of research on Carrie as the designer of the line and discovered her book. I quickly ordered it and read it cover to cover. It is written as a workbook with each chapter providing a little exercise to help the reader discover the creative side of herself. As I read the book, I felt it not only reinforced the creative part of me, but the exercises emboldened me. They help you to feel confident in your knowing, your experiences, your creativity.

Carrie talked to me about being a seeker. She defines it as trying to live with a ‘beginner’s mind.’  This frame of mind means to remain curious and continually look for ways to expand one’s skills and be challenged,  If you keep seeking new ideas, ways of doing and knowing, you will be able to experience the almost euphoric joy of discovery. Children have this. Remember the joy of watching a child figure something out? They live with beginner’s mind. Carrie loves to “not be the expert” and would rather always be learning and stretching beyond her skill level. In her book she illustrates how to find the confidence to stretch ourselves and grow in our creativity. She hopes her book encourages the reader to live life in a fuller way and to remain open to experiences which will increase the richness of day to day life. When I read the book, I kept thinking that many of the little lessons she describes in each of the thirty chapters would be applicable to my home life, my personal life, and my work life. These projects she describes are beneficial on many levels, both creative and emotional. It is sort of a ‘self-help’ book published in the crafting and artistry genre.  I mean this as a positive – It is a very cool book.

Carrie in her studio; photo credit to Jill McNamara

As we talked we touched on social media quite a bit. While Carrie has a strong social media presence, she touched on one point that struck me. (This is also covered in her book.) She mentioned that to share one’s work constantly causes the artist to lose the intimacy of creating. When she is painting or drawing and then stops to take a picture and post it, she has removed herself from that creative zone. It is precious to stay with your project, or artwork, and let it happen organically. Keep it to yourself and see where it takes you. Additionally, constant sharing on social media causes a person to rely on external validation from others. How many likes do I get? How many followers responded to this piece of work. This can be damaging – if a post doesn’t receive enough ‘likes’ it isn’t necessarily due to negative reaction to the work. Rather it is likely because of the algorithms used by the software.  Your post probably didn’t pop up in the feed of every follower. Social media requires a creative person to have such a thick skin! Isn’t it better to validate from within? To know that your quilt, painting, recipe or photo is your creation, to enjoy both making it as well as the finished project is very satisfying.

Lest you think this is easy, let me assure you it is not. Carrie knows how difficult it can be to pursue a creative path. She spoke of her own personal issues with control and how difficult it has been for her to relinquish control of her work. She continues to work on this and is becoming more comfortable with it. For example, when she sends her artwork off to Windham for them to convert it into files and print it on fabric, she has to let go of it and trust them to use what she has made in the way they see appropriate. Never easy to do,  but it is very gratifying when she sees her work being sewn into quilts and so many other projects by quilters and sewists everywhere.

Another theme that runs through her book and our conversations is to live with gratitude. I commented on this thread that I kept reading and hearing in our discussion. About nine years ago, Carrie and her husband had a terrible scare when their son was diagnosed with a serious blood disorder at the age of two years.  He had a tumor in his hip bone. The bone scan happened on Christmas Eve and they spent the next two days anxiously waiting to find out the severity of his illness.  He was treated aggressively for the next year and they are deeply grateful for the good health he enjoys today. Carrie feels this experience dissolved some barriers between herself and others. It taught her to appreciate receiving help from others and to give of herself to others. She said where she was ‘almost maniacally controlling’, she learned she is not in charge of these things. Gratitude became “the bedrock of her life”.  I love that sentence. ‘The bedrock of her life’… gratitude should be the basis from which people react, create, and interact with others.

At the risk of making this post too long, I want to touch on one last part of our discussion.  When I read her book, I kept questioning the value of certain parts of the book in relation to me and the things I make.  I usually make things after being inspired by something I have seen, or using a pattern I have found or purchased.  When I made the THREAD and FABRIC mini quilts (where I practiced relief quilting and surrounded the thematic words with improv pieced fabric), I felt more joy in making those than most of the items I make. It was hard for me to articulate this but the more we talked about it, it began to make sense.  Carrie talked to me about arts and crafts and how the two co-exist.   In her opinion, crafting is done using a skill(s) one possesses and creating something. 

Then my notes say this:

Art = Personal = Free

When I wrote this, she was teaching me that to create an art form is to trust yourself and use those skills you have in a way personal to you, somehow meaningful to oneself. Not following directions but allowing yourself to create independent of direction and instruction. This is a vulnerable place to be. What if it comes out terribly? If I fail miserably? I cannot ‘blame’ the pattern or the instructor for the less than awesome project if I am creating it independently and in my own fashion. But creating or making something personally meaningful is so satisfying. It is worth the risk of disappointment in the project. I remember when I made those two mini quilts, there was no plan other than to practice relief quilting. It sort of just evolved. I love those two little quilts and I remember feeling really satisfied and focused when I worked on them.  It was so interesting to talk through this with Carrie.

OK – Let’s wrap this up, though I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, I loved this interview and feel like I learned a great deal. Oh, wait – one more thing….  When we talked it was late afternoon and both of her children had play dates going on in the house. I loved how often she had to stop, talk to the kids, take care of the dog and be a mom.  We are all just regular people, doing regular stuff and these designers we so admire are too.  Carrie kept apologizing for the interruptions but it was fine. She is a mom. That’s how life is.

C&T Publishing has generously offered two copies of The Little Spark, 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity for two lucky readers. Let’s get a good discussion going in the comments. To enter the giveaway, tell me please:

If you could be assured success in something, anything, what would you try to do?  It has been mandated, you will succeed! You will not fail.  What would you want to do? I would love to hear. There are so many things that I would like to do but the risk of bombing out creates these inhibitions. Actually that fear of failure limits me in what I try to do.  How about you? Here is one for me.  If I knew it would work, I would make a quilt for my king size bed. I feel like that is such a huge canvas to make a quilt that large. In my mind’s eye, the quilt is somehow made with very large pieces, lots of negative space and straight line quilting in some sort of geometric pattern.  But I don’t want to use a pattern and I don’t know “how” to start. Making a king size quilt will take a lot of fabric and batting and time. It frightens me on some level to invest time and money into this when I am not confident of the result.

The giveaway will remain open until Tuesday night, July 11th.  I will pull two names.  If you live in the US, you will receive a hard copy of Carrie’s book.  If you live internationally, you will receive an E-book.

As always when I post these interviews, Carrie’s fabric is on sale in my shop.  I have marked it down by 15% so no coupon code is necessary. Her work is gorgeous and inspiring. If you haven’t seen this line yet, come take a look. I bet you will love it. Sale ends on Sunday night, July 9th.

Wednesday WIP Update

Yesterday I thought it was Wednesday. All day long – I even took the trash can up for pick up (which happens early Thursday morning).  Guess what? It was Tuesday. So it is like I gained an extra day this week!  I need to organize myself so I use the extra day wisely!!

At the moment, I have three quilts actively in process.

 

The Sewcial Bee Sampler hosted by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland.  It is week 23 for the sew along but I am behind by four blocks.  Once I get behind on something, it is hard for me to pick it back up and focus on it. I will try to get some of these blocks done though. I really like the first 18 or so that I have made and I look forward to laying them out and looking at the overall quilt.

The floral and cream quilt (Twisted) that I started in a class at the beginning of June. I am hoping to get together with my friend Sophia and we are going to work on this one together. I have lots of pieces prepped for chain piecing. This one will come together quickly.

My Ring Me quilt hasn’t been touched since I started it last spring. Remember when I shared this as a part of the blog hop for Amanda Jean Nyberg’s recent book? I love it but I haven’t worked on it for a long while. It is going to have to continue to wait.  There is too much going on right now!

I also have two new quilts to start.  One is a whole cloth baby quilt for an Etsy customer. She wants a bright and cheerful quilt for her baby girl who is due any day now. I am going to start this one today.

The other is a quilt made of football and baseball jerseys for my nephew, Sam.  He is off to college in the fall and wants me to make a quilt with his huge collection of jerseys.  I am a little bit nervous because these aren’t knit t-shirts (which I have worked with  before).  These are made of that silky jersey fabric. I am unsure how I will stabilize the fabric.  Also, the logos are all over the place as far as size. Hmmm….  If anyone has any suggestions or if you can point me to an article on this, that would be great!

Along with all of this, I am making some changes with my Etsy shop and how things are organized.  I decided to separate the pattern sales from the fabric sales. Both are growing a lot and it makes sense to have two different shops.  There are only 15 categories a seller can use in their shop.  Splitting these between the fabric and patterns in one shop is becoming difficult. So I am slowly moving the patterns over to the new shop. This is a labor intensive task as there is no way to do it automatically within Etsy. I have to re-list each one and I have hundreds.  I try and do a few each day. If you have shopped for patterns with me in the past, the new shop is called Needle and Foot Sews, Vintage and Current Patterns.  It would be best to favorite both shops if you want to keep track of the patterns. Hopefully it won’t be too long before this is complete.

I better get to work!!  I am going to baste the whole cloth quilt and get it started this morning! Later this week I will be posting the fifth interview in my Meet the Designer series.  You will get to know Carrie Bloomston and there is a giveaway involved in this one! Don’t miss it.

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Sew Along Finish!

Today we are celebrating the finish of the Summer Sew Along. Together there were about twenty sewists that made a shirt using Butterick pattern number B6024. If you are just seeing this and want to check out the sew along from the beginning, click here.  This is the first time I have hosted a Sew Along. I truly enjoyed every bit of it.  I had a few frustrations as I finished up the shirt and I am anxious to see and hear how everyone else fared with the finishing touches on their shirt.   So, let’s take a look at my finished shirt!

The fabric I selected is called Filaments Ethereal from Art Gallery Fabric’s collection called Gossamer.  Actually of the group of us sewing, there will be at least five people with this shirt in a fabric from the Gossamer line.  It was a popular choice for summer.

For the most part, I am satisfied with the fit. The first time I made it, I decided it was a teensy bit tight across the back and shoulders. So with this one, I made it a little bit larger. I may have gone too far the other way and it is a little bigger than I wanted. I know, I know, I am being too picky. The fit is always the biggest challenge with sewing clothes.

The shirt hangs well and it is super comfortable. The Art Gallery fabric, as always, is so light, making it perfect for summer.

I think, were I to make it again, I would make the version with sleeves. I like it just a bit better. But really, what a fun project this was. I would definitely host something like this again. Sewing with friends, whether in real life or virtual life, is always a fun time.

Here is one of the member’s of the sew along.  Rosemary joined in and she chose to make the version with pin tucks across the front. She did such a great job and I think it looks beautiful on her. That fabric is wonderful! It looks like her puppy approves too!

 
Here is my sister Tina. She joined in and sewed with us. She has been sewing for a long while but hadn’t made any garments for a while and wanted a refresher. She did a great job on the shirt!

The picture above is from Cate. She chose a lightweight blue fabric for her blouse. It is just perfect for summer.  It looks so pretty!

I have a link up below so people can share their finishes with everyone. I hope you will scroll through and take a look. The link up will remain open for about ten days.  Not everyone has finished their shirt yet so I want them to have the chance to link up when they are done.


Finally here is a heads up on a great promotion over at Craftsy during this long holiday weekend.  Might be the perfect time to select a new class for less than $20.00! So many excellent classes are available and once your purchase it you have it forever. What a great way to build your library. (Affiliate post)

Such a Sweet Finish

 

I have a finish to share with you this morning!  I began this little quilt a couple of months ago when I had the Sweet Tweets fabric (by Kim Schaefer for Andover) in stock.  There was a panel fabric with these fun critters and I made both a quilt  top and three stuffed blocks out of it (with a few pieces to spare!) I wanted to wait a bit before finishing the quilt though. I sold out of the rainbow stripe that I wanted to use as a border.  I  knew Kim Schaefer was coming out with a new line that had a similar rainbow stripe and I had it on order for my shop.  (Note: I am sold out of the Sweet Tweets panel now and Andover has told me they will not be reprinting any of this line. It is kind of unfortunate because it is such a cute one.)

The new rainbow fabric is from an Andover line called And Z (from the alphabet song…  W, X, Y And Z!)  It also has a sweet alphabet panel and lots of fun coordinating fabrics, including a new rainbow stripe, which I used as the border on this project.  I greatly appreciate when a designer works to make sure successive lines work with the one prior. It makes it much easier to use your stash. Anyway, this rainbow stripe was perfect for the Sweet Tweets quilt border.

Once I had the borders on, it was time to quilt it. There is a whole lot going on with this quilt, cute focal fabric, stripes and dots, and all sorts of color.  I thought it best to keep things simple. I outlined the critters with my walking foot which anchored everything down.

Next I free motion quilted large and small loops between the critters. I was using Glide thread in basic white and it was wonderful. I am really impressed with this thread and I need to get a few more colors to have on hand.

For the small row of sashing between the critters and the rainbow stripe border, I quilted a little wavy pattern. Finally when I got to the border, it was time to switch from curves to a boxy motif.  (Side note – look how dry the pasture next door to us is….  We have had such a heat wave and the grasses are really dry now. )

For the backing, I used a red stripe given to me by my sister last fall when she was purging her closets. It is perfectly bright and cheerful. The binding was a bit of a decision for me. I posted a photo on Instagram, asking people for input or suggestions.  When someone said solid black to frame it off, I agreed. I think this quilt needed a simple binding for the finish.

The back side actually displays the quilting better than the front (as is often the case.

Look at the combination of the blocks and the quilt.  This was such a fun way to use this panel fabric.

This quilt finished at 30″ by 38″ which is a nice size for baby. The quilt makes me happy and I am sure it will look cute in a nursery with a baby playing on it. There are so many colors, patterns, and critters to look at!

Linking to my favorite places. Find them at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Also, remember to sign up for the Needle & Foot newsletter to hear the latest on new fabric arrivals and fun promotions offered to my subscribers. Sign up form is on the right side of this page.

Finally here is a heads up on a great promotion over at Craftsy during this long holiday weekend.  Might be the perfect time to select a new class for less than $20.00! So many excellent classes are available and once your purchase it you have it forever. What a great way to build your library. (Affiliate post)

Summer Sew Along – Day 5

Hi Everyone! I have been enjoying seeing pictures of your shirts on Instagram and Facebook. There is lots of sewing going on and they all look wonderful.  Today is really the final ‘how-to’ post for this sew along. We will put the bias binding on the neckline and arm holes and finally, hem the shirt! Easy Peasy, right?  Well, I thought so but honestly, the armholes gave me so much grief!! I think the problem, for me anyway, was the width of the bias binding piece. I will explain as we go.

To begin, you need to mark the center dots that are printed on the paper pattern pieces, both the neck binding and the armhole binding.  Those dots notate the center of the back side of the neckline as well as the top of the shoulder for the armhole.

Let’s attach the neck binding first. After marking it, fold the binding in half, lengthwise – wrong sides together – and press (just like when binding a quilt). Next you will pin that folded binding to the neckline.  When I pin something like this, I first pin the center back point. Then I match up those notches, there is one on either end of the binding. After those three points are pinned, ease the rest in and pin it well.

When I got to the end of side of the binding strip, I folded it back, then pinned and pressed it. This will tuck the raw edge of the binding strip in so when you stitch it down to the inside, you have a neatly finished edge.

The directions call for a 3/8″ seam allowance when stitching the neckline. I only point this out because it veers from the 5/8″ allowance we have been  using up to now.

Stitch the binding to the shirt, making sure the fabric below the binding stays flat and smooth. Just take it slow and you will be fine. Remember the strip is cut on the bias which allows some stretch. You shouldn’t need to stretch it but you will be able to ease it around the curves nicely. Then clip the neckline a few times from the inside. Do not cut through your stitches though. I like to do this because I think it allows the binding to fold in over the curved edge nicely. Go ahead and press your seam and then fold the binding to the inside and press it down. Slip stitch the binding to the inside of the the shirt, including both ends.

The process is mostly the same for the armholes. However you will stitch the ends of each binding piece together (with a 5/8″ allowance) so that you have a circular piece, pressing that seam after stitching. Then, again, fold wrong sides together and press. Match that center marking with the shoulder seam and the stitched seam with the side seam at the bottom of the armhole. Then match your notches. Following that, ease the rest in and pin well.  Stitch with a 5/8″ seam allowance.

Before going any further, press the seam and turn the binding in toward the inside of the shirt. Press it and see if the binding lays flat. This is where I ran into difficulties. For me, the binding was too tight. I kept taking it off and fiddling around with it.  Finally, the only way I could get a finish I was happy with, was to fold the binding in after stitching it. I stitched it at 5/8″ and then folded it in half to make it narrower and pressed it. Then I folded it to the inside and slip stitched it down. If you look at the picture, you will see it is rather narrow, compared to the neck binding. Honestly, I cannot really say what went wrong for me here but it sure made me crazy for a little while there.

But it lays flat and looks ‘good enough’.  The first time I made this pattern, I put short sleeves on it and that was simpler! Hoping this isn’t a problem for you. I can’t figure out if I cut something to the wrong size or what?? I hope you don’t have this issue. If you do though, be patient and work with that binding piece. Message me via Facebook or Instagram and I will try to help.

That very last step is to hem the shirt.  I am assuming you know how to do this but really it is so simple.  Fold up 1/2″ to the inside and press.  Then fold it again, to the inside, and press again.  Pin along the edge and machine stitch the hemline.  Ta Da!!! A finished shirt! I can’t wait to see all of your blouses. Let’s meet up here next week and share the finish. You can link up a blog post if you like as well as post pictures on Facebook and Instagram.  Rather than figure out how to link an Instagram post here, please email me a picture of your finished shirt (on you or on the hanger!) and I will share them in the last post.

As always, please let me know if you need help.  Have fun finishing your shirt up and I look forward to seeing them next week!

I Am the Sewcial Bee Sponsor This Week!

Are you participating in the Sewcial Bee Sampler Sew Along, sponsored by the wonderful Maureen Cracknell and the talented Sharon Holland?  It has been on-going for the past twenty-one weeks with one block released each week.  There will be 25 blocks total.  I am making blocks, though I must admit to being behind by about three or four blocks at this point.  But I love the quilt I am making. I have been using fabrics from the Fleet & Flourish collection and the Garden Dreamer collection, both of which are designed by Maureen Cracknell. I have mixed in solids as needed.  It will be sashed with one of my all-time favorite, low volume fabrics, Mesh Joy – designed by Sharon Holland. Click here to see it in my shop!

If you are participating in the sew along, you are aware of the giveaway that happens each Friday.  Wonderful prizes have been offered up by the event sponsors each week.  This week I am hosting the giveaway. If you are eligible, hop over to Maureen’s site to find out how to enter to win this bundle of fat quarters! A combination of eleven fabrics from two of Sharon’s lines, you could win pieces of both Gossamer and Bountiful. These muted, peaceful prints are gorgeous as a bundle.  They are available now in my shop, both as fat quarters and yardage.

Essentially each participant is a winner this week.  You may use coupon code SEWCIALBEE15 to receive a 15% discount off of your purchase from my shop all weekend long.  The code will be active through Sunday night, June 25th. If you purchase one of the special SBS bundles and then are lucky enough to be drawn as the winner, I will refund the amount of purchase. No worry there. Take advantage of the coupon code to do some shopping — there are all sorts of wonderful fabrics to choose from! Happy Sewing. 🙂