Happy Monday Everyone! Back in December when I first started working on the expansion of my Etsy shop, I wrote to a few blogger friends and asked for their support of my project. As one would expect of this quilting community, they immediately said they would be happy to help.
My original plan was to host this blog hop at the end of January. When I placed my fabric orders in early December I was foolish enough to believe the ship dates that I was given by the manufacturers! Silly me. There were all sorts of delivery issues. It really wasn’t until the beginning of February that product began to steadily arrive. But then February always means QuiltCon and several of the bloggers in the hop were heavily involved with that event. Anyway, time marches on and here we are in the third week of March! Today is the first day of Spring which is a time of new beginnings; thus the perfect day to celebrate my new shop.
Each of the six quilters were given their choice of fabrics to work with. You will see lovely projects made with Allison Glass’ 76 fabric, Kim Diehl’s Modern Tykes fabric, as well as Maureen Cracknell’s Garden Dreamer. One quilter requested an assortment of prints because she had a few projects in the works so you will see a medley of fabrics in use there.
Monday through Friday this week, there will be a post celebrating the fabrics offered at Needle & Foot and with each post there will be a giveaway (of course!). On Wednesday there is a bonus, with two bloggers posting that day. There are lots of opportunities to win this week.
I don’t know how the various bloggers are setting up the giveaway but I can tell you that each one will award one prize. The winners will have the option to choose six fat quarters or three 1/2 yard cuts from my shop. I welcome international quilter’s to join in. However, I ask that if an international person wins, they will split the cost of the shipping with me. It gets a little bit pricey!
OK – TIme to start visiting blogs! Here is the list of bloggers to visit this week!
I have only had small sneak peeks of their projects so I am really excited to visit each one and see what they have made. I hope you will enjoy it as well. Additionally, I want to offer a discount for each of you. I am truly grateful for all of the good wishes, support, as well as purchases, that many of you have provided over these last several months. It has been a blast to get this set up and I look forward to continuing to build my inventory with the fabrics you love. For this week only, please use the code NANDFREADERS15 to receive a 15% discount on purchases made through Sunday, March 26th. Thank you so much and enjoy the hop!!
Wasn’t that a wild Super Bowl game yesterday? I think that is what all the cool kids are saying today, so I am joining in. Truth be told, just a few days ago, I had to google who was going to be playing. We are not a football family. Like, not at all. Somehow though, Ray and Julia have developed a tradition of watching the game together. They each pick a team, based on scientific evidence, such as the color of their uniforms or the mascot on their helmet. The fighting begins just as soon as one team has scored. Let’s just say Julia was very cocky for the majority of the game, lording the success of her team over that of her father’s. The tables unexpectedly turned during the dramatic ending of the game. Ray was merciless this morning and will surely fit this into any conversation, as much as possible, over the next few days. As for me, once the nachos were gone, I was in the other room playing on my iPad.
Last night I spent quite a bit of time on-line meeting a new group of quilters. (Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?) Last week I received an email stating I was selected to be one of the ambassadors for Island Batik. Island Batik has been in business since 1997 and is located in Southern California. Their product is made in Bali. I am very impressed by the philosophy held at Island Batik. They diligently strive to enrich the community their employees live in. I can tell from the amount of communication and direction I have received from their Marketing department that this is going to be a good experience. She is so organized, very creative, and responsive. Ask a question and she is back with an answer within an hour or two.
Each year Island Batik accepts applications for their ambassador program. Once they make their selections (of about 30 quilt bloggers), a closed Facebook group is created so we can all work together on Island Batik promotions and blog hops. I felt like it was the first day of school. Would I know anyone? Would I make new friends? But everyone seems so nice and there were several names of bloggers I am very familiar with. I am really looking forward to the arrival of our box of supplies. It should be here this week.
This picture was posted on Facebook the other day – doesn’t that just run a chill down your spine? So much possibility is contained in that cardboard box. You can expect to see some fun projects, blog hops and giveaways as a result of that magical box that is headed my way.
On to other business. The name has been picked for the giveaway of the I Love Precut Quilts book. I used Random Number Generator this time because my amazing name-drawing daughter is at school this morning. Random Number Generator picked number 2!! So, Wendy of Piecefulthoughts.com, it is your lucky day! A copy of the book will be sent off to Wendy soon. Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway. Looks like I am not the only person hoarding charm squares and fat quarter bundles!
Time to go. I have a binding to make – I finished quilting my Knock Knock quilt the other day. I am volunteering in the See’s Candy Shop for Julia’s 4-H group this afternoon. It is pouring rain today which will likely keep the shoppers at home. Since I don’t expect to be terribly busy selling Valentine candy, I want to take some hand sewing with me. Hope to have a finish to share with you later this week.
I was recently given the opportunity to review a newly released book by Tricia Maloney. Having already published two quilting books, Maloney just authored her third, I Love Precut Quilts. Like many other quilters, I enjoy the ease of creating with precuts. Using a bundle of fat quarters or fat eighths, a set of charm squares or mini charms, or maybe a jelly roll makes fabric choice a quick decision. Using the bundle means you will have scale and color variation as the designer of that line meant it to be. Sometimes I do add a few solids or prints to the bundle and sometimes I use it as is. Precuts can be a lot of fun. Just take a look in my closet and you will find a large stack of charm squares, several fat quarter bundles, one fat eighth bundle and (just) one jelly roll.
Since I have never published a book, I posed a few questions to Tricia. I thought it might be interesting to hear about her experiences with the three books she has penned.
Q. How did you come up with the precut theme? What inspired this?
A. I originally pitched a slightly different idea, but with some give and take with C&T, we tweaked my original concept and came up with I Love Precut Quilts!. I did have to rework several designs, but it was definitely worth it because I am very proud of the final product. It wasn’t really a hard transition for me though because I was already in love with precuts.
Q. What is your writing process? Do you design the quilts first? How much direction does the publisher give you?
A. Once I have my design direction (basically my idea or focus) then I sit down in front of my computer and rev up my Electric Quilt 7 software because most of the time I start with a design first, add fabrics, make the project (taking notes as I make it), and then write the full instructions. Of course, there are times that my approach can vary like when I find an awesome fabric collection that really inspires me and I just have to create a quilt around the fabric (like Cocktail Party in my book).
I don’t know how my experiences translate to other designers as a whole, but by the time I’m working actively with a publisher I have already designed all of the quilts, selected the fabrics, probably already started making quilts and possibly writing basic instructions.
Q. How long does it take to write a book, from first pitching it to the publisher to release? You’ve got three under your belt so I bet you have a good idea here.
A. I would estimate about a year or so from beginning to end, more if there are any bumps along the way. Writing a quilt book is not for the feint of heart because you really have to be committed 100% to the project for a long period of time. It can be very stressful when you’re trying to balance your book project with family, work, and everything else.
Q. What is the best and worst part of a project like this?
A. The best part of writing a book is sharing your love of quilting with a broad spectrum of people. I also really love creating the concept and the designs, picking out the fabrics (who wouldn’t love that part?), and making the quilts. The “worst” part of the process is how long it takes from beginning to end.
Q. Any words of wisdom to a wanna-be writer out there?
A. If you think you’d like to be a writer, I would suggest you try out working with magazines and smaller publications before tackling “the book.” Find out if working within deadlines is for you. Can you write instructions that others can understand? Do you enjoy the whole process?
Once you’ve determined that YES! you want to write your own quilt book, find something that you’re passionate about that hasn’t been done before or a different way of doing something and then start researching possible publishers. When researching publishers, the first place to start is your own bookshelf — who publishes your favorite books? Once you have some publishers in mind, visit their websites to learn more about them. If they have submission guidelines available, follow them to create your book proposal.
I think Tricia provides valuable insight into the process of authoring a book. It gives me a solid appreciation for the designers out there who take the time to write books and patterns for us, the quilty consumers.
When I was reviewing the book, I decided I would make something with a set of Basic Grey mini-charms by Moda. They have been languishing on the shelf for a while now. Placemats or a tablecloth are used at our house each night. I chose to make the placemats from the Serenity Table Set. Rather than making two placemats and a table runner as the pattern suggests, I made four placemats. I think I will use them more often if I have more placemats. Actually, I have enough fabric for two more placemats so hopefully, I will get those done at some point for a total of six mats.
I think they are so pretty. This simple project took me very little time at all and gives the table a fresh look.
I did try something different. I wanted a thinner placemat so rather than batting, I chose to use a fusible interfacing which I fused to the top of the placemat. Next, I sewed the top and bottom with rights sides together, leaving a small (approximately three inch) opening to turn it right side out. After making sure the corners were crisp and everything was nicely pressed, I topstitched around the edge with a generous 1/8″ allowance. Using a narrow seam allowance ensured I caught both sides of the opening at the bottom of the mat. I also topstitched along both sides of the column of pieced mini charms. I think this gave the placemat a very polished look.
I Love Precut Quilts has a number of projects to be enjoyed by both the beginner and intermediate quilter. The instructions are clear enough for a novice and the designs are such that an intermediate quilter could build on them, making the quilt uniquely her own. Finally, I appreciate that Tricia shows her designs not only in the colorway she used but also in one or two other palettes that provide inspiration to the reader.
C&T Publishing and Tricia Maloney have generously provided a copy of this book as a giveaway! To enter the giveaway, please tell me about a certain precut you have been hoarding (we all do it!). Maybe now is the time to create something with it! The giveaway will remain open through Sunday, February 5th with the winner announced on Monday, February 6th. Domestic winner will receive a hard copy book, while international winners will receive an e-book. So, this is open to all!
Remember that all Needle and Foot readers are invited to shop for fabric, yardage orprecuts, at my shop. Use the code NANDFREADERS15 and receive 15% off your purchase of $5.00 or more. This code expires on February 13, 2017.
Here is the schedule for the blog hop. If you hop over to some of the other sites, you will find not only quilty inspiration, but also more chances to win a copy of Tricia’s new book.
Note: I was provided a copy of the book, I Love Precut Quilts, for this review. The opinions stated are my own. I am an affiliate of C&T Publishing which means if you make a purchase after clicking over to their site from my blog, I will receive a small compensation for purchases made.
Thank you to all who took a few minutes to give me some feedback on your experiences with on-line shopping. Having my own shop is like a dream come true. I am hoping to tailor it to the needs of my customers. With your input, it will be a bit easier to do so.
Above you will note an extremely accurate graph, based on my findings.
Other than the scientifically precise data graphed in my chart, here are a few key things I found out:
There are only a very few of us who do not shop on-line at some time or other.
Of the on-line shoppers, some of us don’t feel comfortable, or didn’t know it was ok to, engage the shop owner in conversation. Let’s take a quick minute here. Chatting with my customers is one of my favorite parts of having an Etsy shop. I encourage shoppers to send questions to the shop owner. There is ALWAYS a contact me link on any Etsy shop. If that shop owner doesn’t respond soon (within a day at maximum) it is a red flag. You might choose to shop elsewhere. With smart phones and tablets, it is very easy for me to respond within minutes. Even if I tell them I cannot help them at the moment and will get back in touch in a few hours. That is what we would do if there was a long line in a brick and mortar shop, right? Ask for the customer’s patience and try to serve them at the next available opportunity.
Designers: Oh my gosh. There are so many and we makers are definitely fond of certain artists. Thank you for listing those that you really love. Many are designers I am familiar with (and have stocked their fabric in my shop) and others are new to me. It will be fun to look them up and see what else is out there!
As for types of fabrics, you are a very eclectic group. Nearly half are loving modern fabrics, no surprise there. Nearly half are enjoying traditional and/or repro fabrics. That is more than I would have guessed. Batiks are clearly a fabric someone loves or doesn’t like. Not a whole lot in between. I like them quite a bit. One of my favorite quilts I have made so far was with batiks. (It is shown at the top of this post.) I also think they are great in art quilts. Simulating nature with batiks works quite well.
Novelty prints have their place. Those of us making baby quilts and children’s clothing seem to like them. Holiday fabrics are fun for some makers. But of my readers, there are only a few who seem to really get a kick out of them.
Precuts? Again, this depends on the situation. My take on it was people enjoy winning them or using them for projects where they really want to incorporate the entire line. I had some definite ‘No, I don’t use them’ answers. I get that. Precuts can be limiting as the fabric is already cut to smaller pieces and there is no going back from there. As for me, I do like them. At this point, I don’t plan to carry them. I have cut some fat quarter bundles of the fabrics I have and listed those but with a limited start-up budget, I will not be stocking a lot of precuts, Down the road, maybe so. Not just yet though. I did hear from many readers that it would be fun to be able to curate a custom bundle or to buy curated fat quarter bundles. This is something I have in the works. You will hear more on that soon.
Many readers left suggestions or hints as to what they might like to see when on-line shopping. Ideas such as the following were presented:
Work on the cost of shipping. Shipping gets expensive and makes on-line shopping less appealing. I have taken a lot of time to weigh fabric and adjust my shipping schedule on Etsy to be economical. I find I can ship 1/2 yard of fabric for about $3.00. If shipping large pieces of yardage, it makes sense to use a flat rate envelope for about $6.75. Quite a bit of fabric fits in a flat rate envelope. Either way, I do try to make the shipping as economical as I can. Also, shipping overages of $1.00 or more are automatically refunded to you. This rarely happens.
Novelty flannels for making quilts and pajamas was a request. I love making my kids pj’s. Even though they are adults, it is a fun thing to do. I hope to have some choices for you this summer so you might be able to work on them before the holidays.
Describe the scale of the print. I am doing this! Currently, if there is a larger item in the print, I have included the measurements of it in the description on the listing. I am hoping this will give the shopper an idea of how the scale works. I know many shops include a ruler in the photo or put a quarter on the fabric to indicate the scale. I will continue to include this information for you.
Another reader mentioned she would like to have a description of the drape or the feel of the fabric. This is very subjective. I will try to include it in the description though. Certain manufacturers, Art Gallery Fabric comes to mind, are known for producing fabric with a lovely hand (or feel) to it. Their fabric has a wonderful silky feeling which makes it great for both quilting and garment sewing, I do have a number of bolts from Art Gallery.
A number of readers mentioned that they don’t really like fabrics with large scale prints. Or, they do like the fabric, purchase it and then don’t know what to do with it. Here are my thoughts. There are many stunning lines that have a few large scale prints (designers such as Maureen Cracknell, Bari J, Alison Glass and Katarina Roccella come to mind). I find these fabrics are wonderful for garments, tote bags, purses, pouches, and pillows. Think gorgeous throw pillows to add a pop of color to your living space. For quilting, I think a design which allows you to fussy cut the larger focal point works well. I get they are a challenge sometimes but don’t automatically write them off. The manufacturer often (almost always) has several items made from a line of fabric for the shopper to see the fabric in use. If you can’t find it, email me and I will send you the link. Art Gallery and Andover Fabric are great about providing this.
OK – if you are still with me, thank you! Let’s get to the winner. Patricia, your name was pulled by my very talented name-pulling daughter. I will contact you via email with a code to use for $25.00 off your purchase at my shop. Again, thank you for all of your comments, ideas and support. It means everything to me. Remember, if you are wanting to shop, my readers will receive 15% off their order of $5.00 or more using code NANDFREADERS15. The code doesn’t expire until February 12, 2017. Hop on over and take a look!
Most of you have read that I have an Etsy shop. I opened it just over two years ago, about the same time I began blogging. I love having a shop and enjoy my customers, several of whom are repeat customers. However, until recently, my shop mainly sold items I had made, which means I am usually selling to customers who are not makers.
About a year ago, I began listing a collection of both vintage and current sewing patterns for garment makers. Also, I listed some cuts of my collection of vintage sheets, including fat quarters, fat quarter bundles, and charm squares. As these items began to sell, I realized that I was very much enjoying the interaction with the makers who were coming to shop my store. These are my people, know what I mean? It has been really satisfying to answer questions, chat back and forth about their projects, and help them find the pattern they are looking for, etc.
After much talking and brainstorming with my husband, I have decided to greatly expand my shop! To say I am excited about this new adventure doesn’t come close to describing how I feel. My husband, Ray, is very supportive and has many good ideas about the business end of it. I am not sure if you remember but my father owned a couple of fabric stores when I was growing up. This is a business I am very familiar with. I worked in his shop on many Saturdays as well as during the summer as a teenager. My father was almost always self-employed which means I am well aware of what this entails. However, in this time of on-line shops, I have the wonderful opportunity to open a business without having a brick and mortar shop.
I have been working very hard to choose a selection of fabrics that will have something appealing to each of you. Of course, the seed money to get this adventure off the ground isn’t limitless (oh how I wish…) With my start up budget in mind, I made list after list of the manufacturers I wanted to work with and the lines that I wanted to carry. Then I went through an arduous process of culling that list and narrowing it down to what I can afford at this, the very beginning of my adventure! I have selected some gems. Over the past several weeks, I have received bolts of beauty from designers such as Alison Glass, Maureen Cracknell and Kim Diehl to name a few. I have fabric from Henry Glass, Andover, Art Gallery Fabric, and PB Textiles to offer you. Over the next two weeks there are some amazing bolts coming from Red Rooster and Windham as well as a few more from Andover.
A sampling of what is available now!
Fabrics began arriving during the first half of January. When I got home from Toronto, things really kicked in. I am slowly but surely listing inventory as it arrives. There is still more to come but I wanted to share with you what I have so far. It is so exciting to see this take shape after weeks and weeks of preparation. I am fortunate to have a large basement level family room. There is one wall with built in shelving. This is where the current fabric lives. As it grows, we will need to add more shelving but for now, this is working well.
Alison Glass’ 76, Fiesta Fun and Maureen Cracknell’s Garden Dreamer!
I plan to hold a Grand Opening of sorts in the beginning of March. I have a blog hop and several giveaways planned- it will be a blast. Waiting until the first of March also allows the craziness that is QuiltCon to subside. But for now, let’s celebrate here! I am really proud of the shop and very excited to show it off to you. I am offering a giveaway of a $25.00 gift certificate to my shop. In an effort to get to know you better and to decide how to best serve you, will you take a look at the questions below?
I shop on-line for fabric – All the time, Sometimes, Rarely, Never?
True or False-When shopping on-line, I am comfortable interacting with the seller (eg asking questions about product, asking for a custom bundle or a specific cut of yardage etc)
Two or three of my favorite designers are: (eg Maureen Cracknell, Tula Pink, Kate Spain, Bari J, Pat Sloan, Joel Dewberry, Bonnie & Camille, Zen Chic, Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Heather Ross, Kaffe Fassett – to name a few out of the zillions available!! Who knows? Maybe your favorite is someone I am not familiar with. Teach me.)
True or False-Modern fabrics are my fave.
True or False-Repro fabrics are the best.
Batiks? Use them all the time or not so much?
Novelty Prints? Yes/No/Sometimes
Precuts? Love them? Or only when I win them in a Giveaway? Or not so much?
If you do love precuts – tell me your preference? (eg Charms, Fat Quarters, Fat Eighths, Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls?)
What type of sewing (if any) are you interested in other than quilting? ( eg Garments, bags, totes, zip pouches)
You absolutely DO NOT have to answer all of the questions. But if any of them speak to you and you don’t mind taking a minute to give me some input, I will be forever grateful! Leaving a comment with your thoughts, on one or more of the questions above, is your entry to the giveaway! If you prefer, you can also send me a quick email, using the “contact me” form. That counts as an entry too. As always, if you are a follower, just tell me how and that is an additional entry. I will leave the giveaway open until the end of the month. A name will be drawn on January 31st with the winner announced in a post on February 1st.
NOTE: Giveaway is now closed!
Additionally, in appreciation for your loyal following of my blog over the past couple of years, I would love to offer all of you a discount code. To receive 15% off any order of $5.00 or more enter NANDFREADERS15 at checkout. This code will be active for just over two weeks, through February 12, 2017. Use it now or in a week or two. Use it once, twice, as many times as you like! I love the fabrics that are in stock now and look forward to the pieces that are due next week and the week following. Oh how I love the sound of the UPS truck coming down our drive!
Finally, I will be posting updates on incoming fabric and promotions on Instagram. If you don’t yet follow me, now is a good time to start. There will be a fun promotion over there the first week of February. Don’t miss it!
2017 is definitely going to be an adventurous one – with my son’s wedding, our first grand baby, and my own fabric shop! I hope you will come along for the ride. Please know how much I appreciate your support of this journey of mine. Blogging wouldn’t be a whole lot of fun without readers – you are what makes this worth doing!
Happy Holidays everyone! Today is a fun day in the crafting and sewing blogger world. Giveaway Day has been hosted for several years at Sew Mama Sew. Last year they did not host it in December and I really missed it. It is great to have another opportunity to provide a fun giveaway for my readers and to enter to win at lots of other sites!
If this is your first visit to Needle and Foot, welcome! I have been blogging for about 2 and 1/2 years and love it. The community I have come to know via this blog is just wonderful. The majority of my posts are about quilting and fabric. Sometimes I throw in little bits and pieces about my family life and many times I will talk about thrifting and upcycling; something that is near and dear to my heart. Because I love to read, I host a book sharing event every few months. If you are a book lover too, you can read about those here and here. The next event will begin in the beginning of January. To learn more about me, click here. If you would like to read some of my favorite posts, you will see some suggested links on my About Me page.
Quilting and sewing are a constant work in process. I have been sewing for 45 years now and quilting non-stop for the last five years. Sewing is both my creative outlet and a calming influence in my day to day life. I have an Etsy shop where I sell handmade items as well as fabric (vintage and current) and sewing patterns. My customers are so important to me – I love to help them get just what they are looking for (whether it be something I made or a certain pattern they need.)
Let’s move on to the giveaway! I have three 1/2 yard cuts to offer as a gift to a lucky reader. These three pieces are from the line called Lily, designed by Alice Kennedy for Timeless Treasures. I love the muted tones in this line.
With three cuts at 1/2 yard each, you will be well on your way to a sweet quilt. To win this bundle, please leave me a comment. Tell me how much of your holiday shopping is done at this point in time. As for me, I have done So. Very. Little! Yikes, I really need to get going. Usually, I am an early shopper as I am not a fan of crowds. So to reach the 7th of the month and have only a few gifts purchased does not bode well for me! If you are a follower of Needle and Foot, whether it be on Facebook, the blog, or Instagram, leave a second comment telling me how you follow. That will count as a second entry. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, December 11th. I will announce the winner on Monday morning, December 12th! Due to the cost of postage, this giveaway is open to residents of the US only. GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
Finally, I want to say that with regular posts (not giveaway days) I try diligently to respond to all comments because I truly enjoy that interaction. But with giveways I can’t do that due to the quantity of comments. I hope you will understand! I do read ALL of them though – good luck and enjoy this event!
Most of all, thank you for stopping by for a visit. I hope you have a wonderful holiday, in whatever way you choose to celebrate.
Good morning! First order of business – I used our friend, Random Number Generator, to pick a winner for the 2017 Quilter’s Planner. The winner is………. Patricia! Her tip on organization was:
I try to group items by use. I have one drawer for hand sewing notions,one for sewing machine items. The cutting table top drawer has rotary cutters and blades etc. I have a travel bag with duplicate tools for workshops that stays packed.
I like the idea of having a separate bag of tools for traveling to workshops. That would be really handy rather than packing up each time you take a class. Congratulations Patricia. I have sent an email to you. If you have a minute, take a look at some of the comments on the Giveaway post. There were many great tips submitted for staying on top of things in the sewing room (as well as life in general.)
Next up for today is something to make you smile. My niece, Lil, teaches preschool at a Catholic preschool in the Bay Area. You might remember Lil from my post about a tshirt quilt I made for her a couple of years ago. Every now and then, Lil will send her mom (my sister) texts or pictures of things that happen while she is working. My sister then sends them out to the rest of us (my sisters & my parents) and we just love it.
Yesterday, Lil sent a great one so I want to share it with you. Being Christmas time, she is working on a basic unit about the Christmas story. Below is the sample project that she had the children making.
As it should be, Lill’s students make their own artwork. Each one is working to his or her current ability. Here are the resulting projects.
I think this bulletin board is filled with all kinds of adorable!! Poor baby Jesus – it would appear he is having a bit of trouble with his manger. I looked at this a number of times yesterday and smiled over and over. I thought you might enjoy it as well. The project in the bottom, lower right corner is so cute. Baby Jesus appears to be underneath the manger. 🙂 I love the preschool ages, when children are so uninhibited and sweet. I have more than one box of projects from my four children. It is so hard to toss them. I think it would be great to scan them and save them digitally so I could get rid of the boxes. Maybe someday…
Ok, that is it for today. I am off to finish binding my Fleet & Flourish project!! Have a great day.
I doubt there are many of us in the quilting community who have not heard about the Quilter’s Planner. This calendar was developed by Stephanie Palmer of Late Night Quilter in 2015. She worked furiously to put out a great product for the calendar year of 2016. I purchased one from her for 2016 and used it extensively throughout the year. (I wrote about that one here.)
The planner for 2016 was such a great tool. But Stephanie wanted to know how she could improve it. She did a survey, talked with the many quilters that were actively using the planner, and then implemented the suggestions she heard in this new version. The resulting planner is greatly improved. Here are some of my favorite features of the planner:
A monthly look at the calendar and then individual weekly pages.
A FMQ motif is included with each weekly page and Stephanie has written a tip or two for practicing with the motif.
Each of the blocks from the 2016 New Blogger Block Hop are included with links to a full tutorial for the block. (Mine is featured the week of April 2nd!)
Quilt Patterns! So many gorgeous patterns – some complex and some simple projects, designed by the likes of Yvonne Fuchs, Amy Smart, Chery Brickey and Rita Hodge, among others.
Each weekly page contains several separate areas for the list makers in the group. I use that section religiously. There is a personal section that I use for projects and goals for my home, a work section where I outline blog posts I want to publish that week, a quilting to-do list where I jot down what I hope to accomplish in the sewing room that week. You know I love a list and the satisfaction gained by checking things off the list!
The reference section is awesome and the graph paper for sketching out a project is wonderful. I used nearly all of the sketch pages last year and I am sure I will this year.
I could go on and on about the planner but I will move on to the giveaway now. Stephanie generously offered a copy for one lucky reader. As we move toward the new year, it is a great time to think about what we have accomplished in 2016 and what we hope to accomplish in 2017. This tool will help you do just that.
To enter the drawing for your own copy of the Quilter’s Planner, leave me a comment with a hint on staying organized (whether it be for life in general or in the sewing room). Due to the cost of postage for this gorgeous book, this giveaway is open to US readers only. My apologies. I will leave the giveaway open through Wednesday, and will email the winner on Thursday.
Giveaway is now closed!
Good luck everyone!! Remember,if you are not the lucky winner, there is still time to order one from the website. I think this would be an amazing gift to give or receive over the holidays! Check it out here!
Today I am celebrating Autumn! Our maple trees are filled with color. Fortunately, we have several different varieties which means the leaves all change at different times, enabling us to savor the season for a bit longer. It is gorgeous.
In preparation for this blog hop, I have been working with a line of autumnal fabrics provided to me by Paintbrush Studios. PB Studios has been a very generous sponsor. They provided me and four other bloggers with the fabrics of our choice in different fall lines and we have each made a project showcasing their beautiful fabrics. The line that I selected for my project is called Golden Harvest.
Here is the schedule for the Autumn Abundance Hop this week.
When considering my options for what sort of project I wanted to make, I decided I wanted to have something to hang during the Thanksgiving season. Thanksgiving is my all time favorite holiday. It centers around family and food – what else does one need? I have been having a lot of fun doing some relief quilting (remember my THREAD and FABRIC pieces?) and thought it would be a good idea to do another one.
I did a quick sketch but didn’t really plan too much beyond that. I began with the center piece. I had this gorgeous brown solid (PB Studios calls is Espresso) and I cut a rectangle and played around with the placement of the lettering. GIVE THANKS was my focus. With the stabilizer fused to the back, I quilted the letters. This goes quite quickly. Especially since Muv over at Lizzie Lenard Vintage Quilting encouraged me to free motion this instead of using a walking foot. She is absolutely right – it worked just fine! Much, much faster to get the lettering done.
Once I had accomplished that, I thought about what sort of design should be placed below the words. At first I thought of doing some applique but the more I thought about it, I decided I wanted to quilt a design instead. I love playing with thread and here was an open space to do with as I pleased. I decided on a pumpkin and took a look at Lori Kennedy’s site, The Inbox Jaunt, for some inspiration. She never fails me. Never! This pumpkin is taken directly from this tutorial. It came together easily.
Using YLI variegated thread, I started by outlining the pumpkin, stem and leaves. Next I filled in the sections of the pumpkin. Following that I added to the outlining to give it some depth. The stem and leaves were also filled in and outlined a couple of times. So much fun!
The next step was to put a narrow border of the olive green solid. I had already decided to do a patchwork border to set off the center. I wanted to use a 2 1/2″ square because of the scale of the fabrics I was playing with.
While I worked things out with the patchwork border, I was thinking about the corners. I made some pinwheel blocks but thought they looked too flat. Following that I made some churn dash blocks and liked these much better.
As it always does, the quilt came together with the sum being so much greater than its parts. I really love this project. The sunflowers, pumpkins, leaves and turkeys are so cheerful. The fabric really is adorable. The green, orange and yellow blender prints worked well to tone down some of the color within the borders. The traditional colors and themes of this line are just right – they made me happy just playing with them. I used a brown print that was in my stash to back it and then used the olive green fabric to bind it. The quilt finished out at 23″ x 25″ inches.
As with most projects, there are a few things I learned. One is better planning equals better results. While it is fun to just sew and see how things come together, I should have done a bit of measuring and planned the patchwork border in more detail. I had to fuss with trimming borders and such to get everything to work together. Also, when I was trimming the piece, after quilting it, I somehow forgot that about the bits that the binding would consume. This is a little bit ridiculous considering the number of quilts I have bound. But I trimmed too deeply, forcing myself to cover points on the churn dash squares on each corner. I was going too fast without considering the details.
I will enjoy hanging it this season and bringing it out again with each Thanksgiving. This simple message of gratitude will remind us of all that we have to be thankful for.
Something I am very thankful for is the generous support of Paintbrush Studios. They were a pleasure to work with and the fabrics they sent to me are just lovely. They are a nice weight and have a very nice feel to them.
Photo courtesy of Academic Quilter
Paintbrush has also provided me with a fat quarter bundle of Into the Woods to offer to one lucky winner. Enter the giveaway by telling me about your favorite part of Thanksgiving Dinner. (Mine is definitely stuffing followed closely by homemade cranberry sauce. Way back when, I posted the recipe for the cranberry sauce I make at Thanksgiving…. just in case you want to try something new.) Leave me a comment and tell me about your favorite. If you are following the blog, leave a second comment and tell me how for an additional entry.
Now for my giveaway. I wanted to make something to give as thanks for all of the friends, inspiration, and community that happens within our online group of amazing quilters. Using this tutorial from Buttons and Butterflies, I made a pair of potholders from some of the scraps. I will pick a name from the comments to win these two potholders as well.
After finishing the potholders, I decided to cut the remaining scraps into charm squares. I was able to cut a set of 40 charms. So, let’s give those away as well!
I added a small spool of coordinating Aurifil so you can make a fall inspired project of your own!
Good luck! Winners for all three giveaways will be drawn on Friday evening, October 28th. I will email winners and announce them the following day on the blog. Make sure I have an email address to contact you!
Be sure to check back each day this week with the others on the hop. They have been working on wonderful projects for fall and have used gorgeous Paintbrush Studios fabrics that are different from mine. You are sure to enjoy their work. There may just be some giveaways on their sites as well. Enjoy this season of brilliant colors, family and friends, and some darn good food.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks everyone!
Linking this post to She Can Quilt as a part of the Q4-FAL event.
If you are wanting to gain confidence in your free motion quilting skills, today might just be the day to purchase a Craftsy Class! Just today, all classes are $14.99. Can’t beat that. I know I learned a great deal with the classes I have taken. I have taken this one from Lori Kennedy and this one with Angela Walters.
In case you didn’t already get the message, I LOVE our community. So creative and so generous, I am continually amazed with the giveaways that are ongoing. About a month ago, Quilter’s Candy Box had a giveaway. Guess who won? Yep, me. Lucky, lucky, lucky me!
Just in case you aren’t familiar with them, Quilter’s Candy Box is a brand, spanking new business run by Tracy and Elizabeth. It is a subscription service where you receive a box of quilty goodness in the mail each month. The first month of business for Tracy and Elizabeth was this month of June! On Instagram they have been actively marketing their fledgling business. (You would be very wise to give them a follow on IG.) They ran a giveaway for one free box in June and yours truly got very, very lucky that day.
I received the box yesterday and had been waiting anxiously because there were some subscribers that had already received theirs and were flaunting all that goodness over various social media outlets. The box did not disappoint! The contents were generous and included lots of fun things like a charm pack, pattern, crafty items, sweets and more. Take a look at the adorable coffee mug up there! That will be happily used by this quilter for her morning coffee.
This pattern is a special edition, created just for Quilter’s Candy Box, by Bonnie Olaveson. I have never tried Cathedral Windows so I look forward to making this. Take a closer look at this Serenity Charm pack. The colors are soothing and just so pretty.
I’ll tell you right up front, when I make this project, it is staying with me. I love the fabric and I’m keeping this one! Ok, let’s look a little further.
I love these little labels. The colors remind me of Maureen Cracknell but as far as I know, she didn’t have any input here. They just look like her, don’t they? Thread Wax. Here I have to admit my lack of knowledge. I have never used it and don’t know what to do with it. Anyone want to give me a hint? Thank you!
Here is this month’s treat. A lemon cookie. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks yummy. See the paperclip bookmark? I love it’s simplicity with one sweet button. It is currently holding my page on a new Anne Tyler book I started yesterday. (Are any of you Anne Tyler fans? I love her books and have read most of them.)
Here is the month’s crafty element.
This little embroidery kit looks like fun. I have been thinking of giving embroidery a try after looking at the 25th anniversary piece I made for my parents all of 37 years ago. (You can read about that here.) Maybe this is the place I am meant to start.
This was indeed a box of treasures. Quilter’s Candy Box runs a monthly giveaway and if you are following them on either Facebook or Instagram (or both) you are sure to see when to enter to win. The monthly subscription is another way to take advantage. I also checked in with Elizabeth to see if they was a way to order a box as a gift for someone without subscribing. This would make such a nice holiday gift for a quilter. (Note to my kids: bookmark their site. Hint, hint.) While it might not be right for a person’s monthly budget, many quilter’s would certainly love to give (and to receive) this as a gift. Elizabeth was quick to respond to my email: “As for purchasing single boxes as a gift, we will have them available occasionally. We will email our newsletter subscribers about it, and post about it on Facebook and Instagram. We also hope to eventually have a few boxes that are always available (like a birthday box) for a one-time purchase.” I plan to keep an eye out for these opportunities.
Thanks so much Tracy and Elizabeth for this very fun box of pretties!
Linking up to a few fun linkies. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.