Monthly Archives: August 2016

Quilty Bloggers are the Best

All summer there have been posts from bloggers who have nominated some of their favorite bloggers for the One Lovely Blog award. It is another symbol of the friendly, kind community that quilters enjoy. This is a sweet way to recognize some of the bloggers that inspire us and sort of introduce them to other readers. In the beginning of August I was nominated by Kate of Smiles From Kate. I had not had time to write a post in response to Kate and then today I was nominated by Jayne of Twiggy and Opal. So I am taking a minute to respond and play along.

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I don’t honestly know where this started or who started it but it is a lot of fun. There are a couple of parameters and they are :

  • Thank the person who nominated you, and give a link to his/her blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Display the image of the award on your post.
  • List seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate (up to) 15 bloggers for this award, and notify them to let them know you have nominated them.

Ok – Here we go.   As I mentioned above, Jayne (from Twiggy and Opal) and Kate (from Smiles from Kate) both nominated me. These two bloggers are so much fun. I follow both of them closely and enjoy our friendships – via blogging and Instagram both. So much talent and inspiration is available via their blogs. If you are not familiar with them, I highly recommend you take a quick peek at their work and their words. You will not be disappointed.

Seven facts about myself…. Hm, I write about family and life as the subject fits when I am blogging but in case you are a new reader or haven’t been a follower for too long, here are a few things about me.

First, I live in a rural area in Northern California. We have three acres and along with that, comes a large vegetable garden and a chicken coop with six hens. I love our lifestyle. It is quiet and secluded which I really enjoy. We grow lots of veggies and have peaches, blueberries, boysenberries and blackberries each summer.  There are drawbacks – such as it is a 70 mile round trip to get to Jo-Ann’s and a 40 mile round trip to find a Target. So it is not terribly convenient living here but one gets used to it.

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Second, my five sisters are my dearest friends. As a mom I have come to hugely appreciate the sacrifices my parents made so they could have a large family of six girls. We see each other as often as possible and text in a group string all day, every day. My phone is constantly beeping and when this happens during dinner it takes all of my self-control to not check my phone (that is the rule – no devices during dinner.)

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Number 3 – I LOVE my family – My husband and kids are my priority. I feel so blessed and grateful for all of them. I have four kids – three boys and one girl – but Julia is our only child at home at this point. Each of the boys has a wonderful partner (wife, fiance, girlfriend) and they have richly expanded our family. I grew up in a large family and it is wonderful to have a large family. (Justs for grins – you might find it interesting that my parents have six kids, 21 grandkids and so far, nine great grandkids with three more due to be born in 2017! One crazy, big family!) The photo above shows my kids plus my daughter-in-law and almost daughter-in-law!

Fourth -I have only ever quilted my own quilts on my Janome sewing machine. But I have been wanting to learn how to use a long arm machine. I am finally taking a class at a shop about an hour away. Once I take the class I will be able to rent time on their long arm machines. So – I am giving this a try. I have made two queen size quilts; one I stitched in the ditch and the other I tied. It is difficult to fit a big project through the throat of my machine (and it is a rather large throat.)  I am hoping this enables me to make larger projects. I’ll let you know how it goes!iced coffeeNumber 5 – My very favorite snack is popcorn. I eat it often and never tire of it. Iced coffee with almond milk is my go-to drink. All decaf, all the time. Once when I was ordering an iced decaf with non-fat milk, the barrista said “I call that a ‘why bother'” (as in no caffeine, no fat, no sugar)  I thought that was so funny. I don’t like caffeine but I love the flavor of coffee.

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I love vintage everything. Cookbooks, fabrics, linens, kitchen ware – all of it. So I regularly spend time checking out our local thrift stores and usually come away with something fun. I list vintage sheets (fat quarters) in my Etsy shop. I have numerous vintage cookbooks which I love to look through. The other day I scored this little vintage Pyrex bowl, circa 1970. Isn’t it adorable? I have posted fairly often about my vintage finds – if you want to read more, check out this post, or this one. Or just put vintage in the search box above and it will show even more posts.

Finally, I love that I have found a community where sewing, quilting and working with fabric is considered to be an art. Growing up, I could not draw.  Actually, I still cannot draw beyond a stick figure. I always equated my inability to draw to my being unartistic. However there are so many ways to be artistic that do not involve paper and pen or paints and paintbrush. I learned to sew when I was 11 years old and have been sewing consistently since then. But it was ‘just a hobby’ and I wouldn’t have described myself as artistic. Having spent so much time and energy quilting and blogging, making friends, learning from other blogs has taught me that sewing and quilting are very artistic. Oh my gosh – there is endless inspiration – so many gorgeous quilts, patterns and fabrics with each combination thereof creating something new and unique. Creative and artistic indeed.

Now for my nominations. There are just over 200 blogs in my feed on Bloglovin. I would say all of them are absolutely Lovely Blogs. But there are a few that especially speak to me. Here you go. You are probably familiar with most of these, if not all. But if by chance, you are not, be sure to go take a look at these Lovely blogs!

Mari at the Academic Quilter – I love Mari’s precision. She makes such intricate blocks and quilts. Really amazing stuff! Last year I sewed along with her Classic Stitches BOM. This year she is hosting Intricate Stitches and I look at these blocks with my jaw hanging open. So pretty!

Janine at Quilts from the Little House.  Janine has many years of quilting experience. She is a wealth of knowledge. But you know what? I love the fact that she either hand quilts or machine quilts – on a treadle machine!! Honestly.  I can’t even imagine.

Deb at Frugal Little Bungalow.  Deb is a quilter who shares my love of gardening, vintage collections, and sewing. Her blog is a delight to read. She is a talented photographer who generously shares her photos of the critters and nature that surround her in Pennsylvania.

Rachel @ Stitched in Color.  Rachel has been blogging in this community for quite a long while. Her blog is a great source of information and she has posted many excellent tutorials. Above all, Rachel writes from her heart and has a beautiful ability to express herself with the written word. I don’t have a lot of connection with Rachel but have followed her blog for a long time now and it is one of my favorites.

 

Relief Quilting Tutorial – Thread

I really enjoyed playing with relief quilting when I made my FABRIC mini quilt a couple of weeks ago. So much so that I decided to make another one! I took plenty of pictures while making it so I could post a tutorial. I hope you will give it a try. The effect is wonderful and it is such an easy process.

This time I wanted to try stitching the word on a piece of fabric with fusible stabilizer and then building the quilt from there. It worked out wonderfully. Since I already had one mini that said FABRIC, I decided to make another that said THREAD. This idea was inspired by a comment left on the first post by Diana, of A Red Delicious Life.  She mentioned wanting to make one to hang above her thread. I decided to do the same. Now I have one to hang above the closet where I store fabric and another to hang above the thread collection hanging on the wall in my sewing room. Thanks Diana!!

Let’s get started.

I am going to provide the sizes that I used but this is so flexible. Increase or decrease as you like. My quilt finished at 11″ x 23″ so if you want a different size, adjust accordingly.

Materials List:

  • Background Fabric: one rectangle measuring 7″ x 19″
  • Heavyweight fusible interfacting: one rectangle measuring 7″ x 19″
  • Scraps for your border
  • Stencils for tracing the word THREAD. I used letters that were 3″ high.
  • Frixion pen or similar fabric marking pen
  • Binding fabric:  Two strips that are 2 1/2″ by 42″ (Width of fabric)
  • Quilting thread.  I used YLI thread in a variegated green and loved it!

IMG_7181Take your background fabric and fuse the stabilizer to the wrong side of the fabric. Follow manufacturer’s instructions if you are not familiar with this process.

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Trace the word on the fabric with the fabric safe marking pen of your choice. I didn’t leave very much room between the letters because I liked the way this looked. You could certainly adjust this to your taste. Also, I didn’t leave a ton of room on either side. Again, adjust as needed by cutting your background wider if you like.

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Using a walking foot, begin stitching long straight rows above, below and between the letters. I didn’t stitch the outline of the letters. This happens later on when you are quilting everything together. For now, just fill in every bit of space above, below and between each letter. You might choose to use a free motion foot for the little openings within a letter (e.g. the A and the D) so you don’t have to start and stop, twisting the fabric. I kept working with the walking foot because the block is small and easily rotates. Each time I came to the botton or top and needed to move to the next line, I very slowly stitched one stitch over, sometimes doing so by manually turning the wheel on the machine so I moved just one stitch. This kept my rows extremely close together. If you have a needle down function, this helps. Just go one stitch and let the needle stay down while you turn the piece. Now and then, the width looked to wide to me and I would back up and fill in with another line of stitching. Remember you will be viewing this from a distance and it looks much better that way. While stitching, you are looking at it from 6-8″ away and you’ll see every wobble. Not a problem. You are going for the overall effect.

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See how the word starts to come to life? I love that! Now keep on stitching!IMG_7206

Making good progress here.  The word is complete and it is time to begin working on your border.

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I made an improv border by taking squares and rectangles in my color scheme (basically greens, purples and blues) and built four pieces, two for the ends and two for the top and bottom. I didn’t worry about size too much. I made them a bit longer than the side I wanted to sew them to and since I wanted to have them trim out to 3 inches, I made sure the whole thing measured wider than 3 inches.  Note:  If you are not comfortable with this scrappy improv process, I recommend grabbing a copy of 15 Minutes of Play by Victoria Findlay Wolfe at your library. She does an excellent job of guiding you through.  Alternatively, Amanda Jean Nyberg at Crazy Mom Quilts did a Quiltalong last summer called Scrap Vortex. In this post, she talks about building with scraps. It might be of help to you.

After playing with them on the design wall, I trimmed each to a width of 3″. I sewed the top and bottom borders on first and then added each side.

IMG_7277The next step is to make a quilt sandwich with your top, the batting and your backing fabric. I pieced the batting from scraps I had. Just pin it around the border tightly since you are going to quilt in the center first. My batting was just barely bigger than the top but since it was such a small piece I felt ok with that. Normally I use batting that is a good two inches larger than the top all the way around.

 

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Continue to use your walking foot and slowly stitch around each letter. It is a bit like connecting the dots as you want to trace over the place where you stitched over to the next line. Just move slowly and turn frequently (with your needle down while turning) when stitching over a curve.

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I love the way the letters come to life when quilted to the batting.  Next I moved on to the border. I love the little spools of thread that I quilted on the first piece and carried them through to this piece as well. Considering the thread theme of this project, it worked well.

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With each spool, I filled in the top and bottom so they would show up a bit better. If you like this idea, take a look at this tutorial of Lori Kennedy’s over at the Inbox Jaunt.

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The spools are whimsical and they add a bit of movement to the quilting as the ‘thread’ flows off each spool.

Once you complete the quilting, trim, square and bind. Finished!

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Isn’t this adorable?????

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And both of them together?? All kinds of cuteness. What fun (and easy) projects both of these were. I have the sleeve sewn on to FABRIC but still need to make a sleeve for THREAD. They will be on the wall soon. I’ll post a picture next week.

I hope my explanation is helpful. If you make one, let me know. I would love to see it!

I’ll be linking to the usuals which can be found at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

 

Reusable Lunch Bags – A Tutorial

I am all about reusing and recycling.  We try to minimize our garbage by recycling everything, composting all that we can and feeding many of our kitchen scraps to our chickens. As for single use plastic (e.g. zip lok bags), I really try to avoid them and when I do use them, I wash them and re-use them again and again because plastic just doesn’t break down or biodegrade. To that end, we have been using reusable bags for packing school and work lunches for the past several years. At this point they are looking pretty grungy.  As usual, I hopped on Amazon to order some. Looking at the price ($25.90 for only three bags) and the simplicity of the bags, I decided to make them.

I wrote a tutorial for these bags a few months ago but had purchased the wrong fabric and found out it wasn’t food safe. I asked readers if anyone knew of a food safe fabric and lucky for me, Gayle of Pedal Sew Lightly, responded right away with a link to Wazoodle.

I quickly purchased a piece of PUL from  that measured 18 x 60 inches (one half yard) and a strip of velcro for less than $15.00. Thus far, I have made three reusable bags (sandwich size) and I have plenty of fabric to make a few more. Yay for knowing how to sew, right?

These are extremely quick and easy to stitch up. Here are the instructions.

Materials required for one bag:

  • PUL fabric:  8 inches x 17.5 inches
  • Thread
  • Velcro: 8 inch strip that is one inch wide

Note: PUL is very slippery fabric. I used a walking foot when sewing because having the extra traction of the walking foot made it so much easier to stitch. Maintain a light hold on the back side of the fabric, as though you are guiding it through the machine. Hold it but don’t pull on it.

 

  1. Cut your rectangle of fabric.

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2. Finish one short edge.IMG_7245

3. Fold right sides together, leaving about 3 inches extending above the opposite side. Stitch sides together with a 3/8″ seam, catching each edge of the velcro in the side seam. Then turn the bag right side out.

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4.Finish the each side of the flap by folding over 1/4″ to the inside and stitching.

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5. Fold over the top of the flap, bringing it to the inside. Sew the velcro to the inside of the flap, on top of the part you folded in. You may choose to pin this but I just stitched slowly and held it on top of the folded piece. It is a bit tricky because  the PUL is slick so take your time and stitch slowly.

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Finished! Not so hard, right? The first one took a few minutes as I got used to working with the PUL.  The following two took less than 20 minutes each to make – these bags are that simple.

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Let me know in the comments if you have any questions. Hope you will make a few of these and reduce the need for zip lok bags, thus reducing the amount of plastic in our landfills.

Linking up to my favorites. For more info, click on Link Ups at the top of the page.

241 Tote, Version 3

Recently a friend of mine had a birthday. We used to work together for the same company. Since I retired (maybe five years ago?) we try to get together every so often for lunch or coffee. Sometimes we are good about it and set a time each month or so. Other times, we get busy and months pass. But we always find time when either of us celebrates a birthday.

I wanted to make something for her this year. Having recently made two versions of Noodlehead’s 241 Tote, I decided to go a third round with the pattern. You might want to read about the first two bags I made – to do so, click here or here. Making this tote a third time was quite easy. I decided to use a basic palette of mocha and denim blue.

To change things up a tiny bit, I bought a magnetic closure for the bag. Prior to this one, I used a toggle button and a loop of fabric. The magnetic snaps are a breeze to install. (If you have not done this before, here is a great tutorial from Craftsy.)  While the snap installed without issue, I did have a bit of a hiccup. I didn’t think two steps ahead when I placed the snaps. They were a tad too high and this made it really difficult to topstitch around the opening of the bag. When I realized what I had done, I tried using a zipper foot to enable me to stitch close to the snap. It helped but the stitching was a little bit herky jerky. It wasn’t nearly as smooth as I would have liked. Thankfully, my friend is tolerant of my less than perfect topstitching!

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As I did before, I added a loop for a keychain clasp so she won’t have to dig at the bottom of her purse for her keys. I love this little feature.

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On the opposite side is a patch pocket with a velcro closure.

On the exterior I placed a pocket as well.  It was supposed to be a zip pocket but somehow when I cut the opening for it I made it way too wide and I couldn’t install the zipper. This was so irritating. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a solution. Rather than a zipper, there is just a pouch type of pocket. Dang it. You’ll see in the picture below how wide that opening is. On the upside, it shows a peek of the fabric used for the pocket and I think that is sort of sweet.

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And for a shot of the back side of the purse.

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It is really pretty and the brown fabric should be great for hiding dirt that seems to appear after setting the purse on the ground or the floor of the car. Hopefully my sweet friend will enjoy the tote for a long time to come!

I will link this post to all sorts of fun places. For more info, click on the Link Ups tab at the top of the page.

Relief Quilting – Learning Something New

I have been remiss in posting lately. It has been really hectic and I haven’t had time to sit with my laptop. What little free time there was, I spent in front of the sewing machine. A girl’s got her priorities, right? As summer came to a close, Julia had the typical teenager desire to pack as much as she could into those last few days. That is fine – she will soon be a slave to homework and won’t have a lot of free time. There were movies to see, shopping to do, and friends to hang out with. School started Wednesday and so another year begins.

When it is busy I like to have a simple project to work on during those 15 minutes of sewing time that present themselves now and then. I have been wanting to try relief quilting for quite a while now. Over a year ago, I read a cute post over at Night Quilter where Kitty explained her process of relief quilting a name on a baby quilt. I love the look and have been planning to give it a try. I pulled out some graph paper and fabric scraps and got started.

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After creating this incredibly inspiring sketch of the project that was floating in my head, I brought out some alphabet stencils that I have. I don’t have the whole alphabet but it was enough to get going. I used the E in place of the F. For some reason, the R was a bit bigger than the rest. I think there are multiple sets in the zip-lok bag and these letters weren’t really from the same set.

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Next I found a rectangular scrap of some Kona cotton and traced the letters, centering them as best I could. I didn’t measure this at all. I used a Frixion pen to trace them. I am not a huge fan of Frixion pens for marking but I figured this was just a practice piece so I wasn’t too worried about the final result. Isn’t there something totally freeing about working on a practice piece? Knowing it isn’t going to be your best work and it doesn’t have to be spot on allows one to sit down and have fun. No pressure.

I placed the fabric on top of the batting (which was a large piece that I had created with batting scrap). Using a walking foot, I started to fill in the areas around the letters I had traced. I used tight, straight-line quilting. Without a real plan, I was sort of all over the place – just filling in areas.

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In retrospect, I see that I didn’t need to stitch as wide a swath above and below the letters. With my next attempt, I will plan a bit further and decide how far I really need to stitch. I wasted quite a bit of thread with the extra quilting. I used a variegated YLI thread which provided a nice bold look. The more I use YLI thread, the more I love it. The texture is provides is just wonderful.

When the quilting was done I was just thrilled with the look, even with the slightly oversized R!  😉

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When I first sketched the project out, I planned to use a stack of 2 1/2″ squares that I have collected to make a border for this. Once I got to this point though, I changed my mind. This guy was calling out for a scrappy, improv border. With my bin of bright, multicolored scraps, I began piecing bits together with only a rough idea of what I wanted the result to be. For the borders I created two large improv pieces that were both more than five inches wide. Then I sliced each in half lengthwise, creating 4 strips measuring 2 1/2″ wide.

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I laid them, right sides together, on both sides and stitched the border on. It was a bit of a Quilt as You Go project, since I was just sewing right on top of the base fabric and the batting. The bottom borders were stitched a few inches below and above the lettering. (This is where it became very clear that I didn’t need to quilt as high and low as I had done.)

Borders on and pressed, all that was left was to make baste the top to a backing and quilt it. I thought it would be cute to FMQ a spool of thread in one corner and then have the “thread” spooling off of it, looping along the borders.

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After creating that little spool, I wished I had used a solid fabric on each corner so I could place spools on all four of them. I did put one on another corner but it doesn’t show up very well with the print fabric. The overall look is cute though, isn’t it?

IMG_7169I love all the bits of different fabric that surround this piece. They bring back a little memory of whatever project they were originally used in. A piece of green dotted fabric was used for the backing (I think I got it out of the remnant bin at Jo-Ann’s) and I bound it with the same Kona that is in the center.

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As always, I would do a few things differently the next time I made this sort of project.  If I were doing this sort of thing as a part of a larger quilt, I would fuse stabilizer behind the solid fabric and do the relief quilting over just the fabric (sans batting). Then I would incorporate the block into the larger project. Once I was quilting the larger project, I would use a walking foot to outline the letters (to quilt the block down).

I need to make a sleeve for it and then I will hang it above my sewing machine. This was great fun and I am really pleased with the result. I encourage you to give it a try. Let me know if you have any questions or check out Kitty’s tutorial.

Linking up all over the place – for details, look at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Copy of 1200x627_handmade-holiday_sew

Weekends are the time to shop Craftsy. This weekend they are having a Black Friday “When You Need It” sale on kits and supplies. If you are hoping to make handmade gifts in time for the holidays, it is a good time to make a plan and stock up. I love the kits at Craftsy – the fabric is often a huge bargain and no one will know if you use that fabric for a different purpose. I am loving this Benartex quilt kit – 100 charms and 3 yards of fabric?  Another one is the Eclipse kit,  which uses the Allison Glass Sunprints line. There are almost 18 yards of fabric included and the pattern is gorgeous.

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If fabric isn’t your thing this weekend, there is also a great sale on books over at C&T. They are having a $5.00 Blowout Sale and many great quilting titles are on sale. I love C&T – they are the publishers of so many of our favorite quilty books. Check it out! Sale runs through the end of day on Sunday, August 21st.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Slowly Progressing

We are down to the last week of summer. Julia, as is the desire of most teenagers, is trying to cram as many activities into it as possible. She has been to the movies, we went to the river last weekend, the fair yesterday (and will be there again on Sunday) etc. I think this is because she knows her precious free time will be given over to homework after school starts. She is also trying to get through her summer reading assignment which is a boring book on the evils of fast food.  Probably not the her top choice in books.

Last weekend we were up in Downieville and it was the weekend of the Downieville Classic. This is a mountain biking competition that is well known for its grueling, technical course. The first competition involves riding 29 miles with a 4000 foot elevation ascent and then a 5,200 foot elevation descent into the town of Downieville. I can’t even imagine. (Especially since I don’t own a bike, but still…)  Julia and I were walking around and watched several riders complete the course. They were covered in dust, head to toe, with little racoon masks on their faces where their glasses had been. Day two is the downhill race over rugged mountain trails where speed and technique are critical.

We certainly weren’t there to ride but it was a great weekend for people watching. The little town of Downieville is usually very quiet and it was nice to see so many people up there enjoying the river and all that the town offers. Especially the river jump, which is a tradition at the Downieville Classic each year. Riders sign up to ride down a ramp and jump into the river, bike and all. They use BMX bikes though, not their mountain bikes. It was crazy fun to watch.  I kept thinking they were going to land on top of someone but that was just the angle that I was watching from. They had plenty of room.

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With all that has been going on, I haven’t accomplished a whole lot in the sewing room. I did bring my pink stripes up to Downieville for hand stitching. This project is a bit of a lesson in patience. I love the look of the chunky stitches with Perle cotton but every once in a while I will wonder why I am doing this when it would take 10 minutes to machine quilt it. Patience isn’t a strong suit of mine, so this is a good lesson for me to work through.

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I have made some progress on my nephew’s wedding quilt. I am thinking of calling it Harmony. It is a sweet name for a wedding quilt and I am really happy with the look of the colors that I am using. At one point, it came to me that the colors looked so harmonious, hence the name.

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I have had a couple of migraines this week which is always annoying. Yesterday I was sort of between headaches and tried to get a bit of sewing done. It just never works out. I should know better by now. This is how things turn out while in headache mode. Not once, but twice!! At least the seams match up nicely.  😉

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Playing with Quiltography is a better bet when I am in this state. At least I don’t have to pull out a seam ripper if things go south on me. Rachel over at Stitched in Color is hosting a challenge called 30 Days of Quilt Designs. She is encouraging all of us to either sketch, doodle or electronically create quilt designs. Just to get your creative juices flowing. I am having fun with it and it is a great way to play with the Quiltography app that I wrote about here.  I have finished several designs so far.

I made one using hourglass blocks and court house step blocks with limited colors. I really like the movement in this design.

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Here is another one using hourglass blocks and square in square blocks. With this design, I love that it appears to be set on point but isn’t. What do you think?

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If this challenge is new to you, check it out here.  There is plenty of time to join in. The 30 designs don’t have to happen in 30 consecutive days – I believe she is holding this through October. Giveaways are involved which is always fun. There are lots and lots of designs posted on Instagram, #30daysofquiltdesign.

Hope you are all enjoying this last bit of summer before school starts (at least those of you with kids at home!)  Let me know if you are into the 30 days of quilt design challenge. I will go take a peek at your designs.

Linking with Needle and Thread Thursday and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop. Find the links at the top of the page, under link ups.

How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog with Flipboard

When I started writing this blog two years ago, I was constantly reading and looking for tips to get it going. It was really helpful to be able to gather information through our community of quilters.

When first publishing posts it is a bit unsettling, wondering if anyone out there is going to read what you’ve just taken the time and energy to write. The quickest way to gain exposure is by participatiing in the link ups that happen throughout our quilting community. Linking your posts ,and reading through other posts that are linked, gains you much in the way of friends and readers. Your community grows and readers see you regularly reading, commenting, posting and linking up. Those that like what you have to say and the projects you are making come to look forward to seeing the next post. If you are looking for various places to link up, check the top of my blog under Link Ups. I also have a Pinterest board where I collect various link ups.

Other than using linky parties, there are several ways to gain exposure. My recent favorite is using Flipboard. Flipboard is a website that gathers an enormous amount of internet posts and categorizes them for the reader. When you go to the site, you are able to search and read all of the most current news, much like a newspaper. It is very easy to navigate. Rather than going to the original source, e.g. CNN.com, for the news, Flipboard gathers it from all sites. Then they sort it into a zillion categories for the reader to enjoy.

So, how does this become a source of exposure for a quilt blogger? Ah, good question. I am getting there!  When a person begins using Flipboard, they create a login. As part of that process, one selects the categories of news they want to read. Honestly there are so many to choose from and once the reader selects categories, the news you read is filtered from those categories. Still with me? So, if someone selects crafting or sewing or quilting, those are the articles the person finds when they open their Flipboard app, or Flipboard on the web. Looking over the suggested articles or posts, when you select one to read, you are taken directly to the website it came from. Meaning if they suggest an article written at NeedleandFoot.com and the reader clicks to read, they are then directed to my blog. This is really helpful because once on the blog, hopefully the reader will look around and find out that they are completely in love with Needle & Foot, right??  🙂

Using your Flipboard login, you can also create magazines. This is akin to creating a board in Pinterest. If you choose to, you can save articles to your magazine. This is where your increased blog traffic really comes in. As a blogger, you can create a magazine and save your own blog posts to it. This gives each of your posts exposure as you save them to the magazine. When you save the post, there is a place to put a quick sentence talking about that post. That sentence is like tagging your post so the search engines within Flipboard can find it and suggest it to others who are using Flipboard.  I have been using Flipboard, collecting my posts and sorting them into different magazines for a few months now and I can see traffic coming via Flipboard and it is steadily increasing. It took me a while to figure out how to use this to my advantage and now that I have a system, I want to share it with you.
Readers can use Flipboard on the internet or by downloading the Flipboard app (which is free.) The pictures I have from the tutorial are screen shots of the process using the app on an iPad. However, it looks quite similar to what one sees using the web based version.

Here are the steps to take:

Go to Flipboard.com or download the app on your device and open it. Create your login.



Select your categories
. Even if you don’t plan to use Flipboard to read articles or gather information, select a minimum of five categories. You’ll notice that with each category you select, the site will filter it and offer you more specific items within the category. This is so they can offer you articles that are truly in the area you want to read. I think they do an excellent job of filtering.

Next, create a magazine. Make sure to leave it public so any reader can read the posts you collect in the magazine. Add a sentence or two describing what you are going to collect in that magazine. Remember these words are used as tag words for the search engines that filter. Be sure to use a clear description with tags so your magazine will come up in the search process.

Once you have a magazine created, link your blog posts to it. I have made several magazines. They are each used to sort my blog posts into areas of interest. For example, I use Vintage Sewing, Modern Quilting, Traditional Quilting, Free Motion Quilting, and Sewing Projects. Each time I post something that is relevant to a category, I add it to that magazine. This sounds like a lot of work, but honestly, once you have the magazines set up, it takes less than 30 seconds to add a new post to it.

If the post fits more than one magazine, add it to each one. If I make a modern quilt and talk about both the quilt piecing and FMQ, I will add it to both the Modern Quilts and Free Motion Quilting magazines. This provides more exposure and increases the opportunity for a reader to come across your post. I have noticed that when the post is linked to your magazine, a picture will display (from that post). It displays best if the picture is portrait rather than landscape display (or vertical is better than horizontal).

Once my magazines were created, I went back to my older posts and chose several favorites and linked them to the appropriate magazine (s). I haven’t yet finished with this task but the more posts I link, the better the traffic is that is driven over from Flipboard.

Finally, I want to tell you a quick way to link your post to the magazine. There is a small icon called the Flipboard bookmarklet which,if you download it, resides at the top of your browser. This button is used to quickly add a URL to a magazine, which makes it amazingly fast to link your post to a magazine. Once I hit publish on a post, I click to view my post on my site. From there I click the icon and it will take me to Flipboard. I select which magazine I want to add it to and write that sentence or two describing the post, selecting a few key words that help to tag the post. That’s it. The post is added and I’m done. If it relates to multiple magazines, I repeat the process to add it to the relevant magazine. To place the icon on your browser, click here.

This process takes a short while to set up and very little time to maintain. I encourage you to give it a try. Let me know if you see good results. I am happy to explain further if any part of this leaves you frustrated. Leave questions in the comments and I will get back to you ASAP.

 

A Beginner’s Wool Applique Project

Remember my trip to Maine? The one where I found all sorts of awesome quilt shops? When I was at Attic Heirlooms in Damariscotta I took a long look at some traditional wool applique projects. Having never made anything like this, I decided to give it a try. When I saw the Row by Row project for Attic Heirlooms it looked like a row that could stand alone and be used as a wall hanging or table runner. (I wrote more about that shop here.)

Making this project was fun in that it was slightly unfamiliar to me. I have only done a bit of applique and haven’t hand stitched applique at all. I dug into the kit enthusiastically. Cutting the little pieces didn’t take long at all. I fused the pieces as far as I could go (without stacking pieces in areas that needed to be stitched first.) Then I took the kit and my assorted Perle cotton skeins over to the coast last week. We spent a long weekend over at Bodega Bay (about three hours drive from home) with lots of family to celebrate my husband’s birthday. What a perfect weekend for hand stitching.


While I was working on it there were a couple of mishaps. At one point I was stitching and not really paying attention and somehow I sewed the project to my pants. Ha. I felt so silly. Ian and Julia found it most amusing.  Fortunately it didn’t take too long to pull the stitches out and free myself from the project. 😉

After that, the little windows started popping off of the house. I am not sure what I did but the fusing clearly wasn’t working! The more I handled the piece, the more bits fell off. I didn’t have an iron and of course, wasn’t patient enough to wait and fix it when I got home. Instead I just held the windows in place and stitched. It worked out and I was able to continue stitching. The windows aren’t as precise as they might have been but that’s ok.

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The center block is surrounded by a log cabin block on each side. Once I got the three blocks assembled, I wasn’t sure how to quilt it. Wanting to stick with tradition, I really didn’t know how to treat the area around the wool house and trees. It seemed like it should be quilted. I wanted to leave the wool pieces alone because I think the fabric is just gorgeous and I like the blanket stitch that I used to attach the pieces. (Except the tiny star and the tree trunks; I wasn’t sure what to do with those so I just stitched around the edges.) After consulting with one of my trusted quilting advisers, Janine, I decided on some wavy lines on the background. The color of the sky (background) fabric looks like a heavy sky to me. The wavy lines make it look just a bit stormy.

 

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I used an older calico fabric that I had for the backing and binding. I haven’t put a sleeve on it yet but I think I will. It would be fun to pull this out in the fall and hang it somewhere. I don’t really want to put it on the table because of spills. The wool isn’t really washable.

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This is my first try at wool applique and I absolutely enjoyed it. It is a sweet reminder of our vacation. I think I will give it another try. First I want to look at the process and learn more about it. Anyone have any recommendations for a book or a quilter who is into this sort of work? Please let me know. 🙂

As always, I am linking this sweet finish with my favorite linky parties. Find the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

craftsy august sale

Want to know what is happening at Craftsy this weekend? A sale, that’s what! Craftsy has marked down their newest classes for the weekend. If you have had your eye on a class, now is the time! You can escape the brutal heat that August can bring and learn something new in the cool of your house.

As an affiliate, I will earn a bit of a commission for any sales made by clicking through links on my blog.