In general, I’m not a ‘fallish’ kind of gal – but today’s kind of fall, I’ll take! I’m sharing the view outside my studio window this morning (from outside my studio window). Continue reading “Be My Neighbor Sew Along, Block 2”
It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine? Could you be mine?
As some of you may remember, last May marked my very first trip to International Quilt Market.
“Use a scant 1/4.” I’ve read this in multiple patterns and though it’s not necessarily a difficult concept to get my arms around, knowing why – or more importantly when – to use it has always escaped me for some reason, until yesterday.
First, let me show you the current view from my desk at any given time during my day (when I’m not cutting fabric or living life, in general).
Add to this to my growing love affair with Bella Solids in general, I’ve been trying to carve out some time to create a quilt with Moda’s Sampler Shuffle – a series of 30 – 6″ blocks designed by Moda designers – which were released to quilt shops last November at Quilt Market, Houston. I can’t say I’ve seen them created with Bellas, but as I’ve spent the last week or so staring longingly at the above image, The Sweetwater Bellas became an obvious choice.
So far so good…
All was going well until I made the 4th block, which had an awful lot of pieces (equating to an awful lot of seams)
Needless to say, I made it once, but decided to remake it. Here’s why:
Meh. 5/8″ isn’t all that big of a deal, right? Actually, it’s not the end of the world, until you’re trying to put a bunch of blocks together that are supposed to be the same size. 5/8″ can be a lot and I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to have to stretch my seams that much to make them line up comfortably. This is where the proverbial ‘scant 1/4 inch’ comes into play and why it is sometimes a pretty handy and necessary process for making our blocks the right size.
A scant 1/4″ is really nothing more than this:
Essentially, it all boils down to just how many seams we’re incorporating into any given block. Think of it this way – the more seams, the more seam allowances; the more rows, the smaller each block has the propensity to become as we go along, depending on how much attention we pay to seam allowance with each seam we create.
ALSO! In case you wondered – the fineness of the thread we use can make a difference as well. It’s why when I first tried Aurifil 50wt , I switched to it without even passing Go or collecting $200 (Monopoly never really leaves your psyche once you play it as a kid, ya know? But lest I degress…). Anyway, while you wouldn’t think the density of thread would matter much, I find that it makes my seams less bulky, which can make a sizable different across the span of a quilt, not to mention – a bunny outfit.
“What did you do with the poor, little too-small block?”
In the end, the question begs: is it really critical to pay so much attention to precision at the tiniest level with respect to seam allowances and thread density? Well, yes and no. It really comes down to two things – the longer we’ve been quilting, I think, the more it begins to matter to us that our work reflects our level of experience. Secondarily, every little seam, whether attentive to exactness of seam allowance or what kind of thread we use, adds up. For the purpose of this post – I’m just giving you a little food for thought 🙂
I wish you happy sewing my friends,
I feel like it was forever ago that we announced our first ever Block of the Month featuring blocks from Amy Ellis’ newly released Modern Heritage Quilts.
I’m happy to announce, first kits shipped on Thursday and I say – let the BOMING begin!
Our first block is a simple Cross block, and we’ll be making 13.
I love most that we started with this particular block because indeed cross blocks signify to me a community of people coming together for common goals. In our case – there are 22 of us participating in this project, and it’s really a remarkable gathering of women from almost every corner of the US!
One of the things I most realized as I started these blocks is how many fabrics are, in some capacity, directional. Some of us can throw caution to the wind and not give two hoots whether our prints are going in the same direction. Some of us, on the other hand, are not so lucky and we need a little directional semblance…might I suggest:
If you’re receiving your BOM kits and haven’t quite made it over to our BOM Group Page, I hope you’ll head on over and introduce yourself – it’s getting to be a pretty lively gathering for Q & A and just some great quilting chatter!
Cheers and Happy Cross Block Making,
Lest I drift dreamily into the 80s movie, Breaking Away, about 4 young men (including a very, very young Dennis Quaid with very, very washboard-like abs; go ahead and watch the movie trailer that I linked above just for fun – you’ll see them!) who spend their days mostly trying to avoid going to college. The main character is Dave (played by Dennis Christopher) a soulful guy who’s taught himself Italian and walks around his hometown of Bloomington, Indiana speaking it as though he came over on the boat (leading especially his dad to think his only son is totally off his rocker). The main premise of the movie is that Dave wrangles his three buddies into a quasi Tour de France bicycle race in their town. The subplot, however, involves Katherine – a beautiful college girl with whom Dave falls immediately in love when he sees her at a college bar. He calls her Katerina and she actually assumes he’s Italian (which he doesn’t exactly argue at the time), obviously there to study in America.
WAIT, you say. Isn’t this a quilty/sewing/fabric blog?
The short answer is YES. The long answer is that you’re reading the thoughts of a girl who grew up in the 70s and 80s, who has a slightly roundabout (and often flowery) way of looking at the world. In other words – if I’m explaining something, I sometimes like you to know the details behind how it sits in my brain. Ask my hub – I always get to my point, and LUCKY YOU – you get to know a little more about ME as we go along.
(Are you rolling your eyes yet?)
Ciao Bella! It’s what Dave said to Katerina when he saw her. It’s an exclamation that means Hi Beautiful! And it’s what I think of every time I hear the word Bella as it relates to Moda Bella Solids. Ciao Bella! Hi Beautiful! I can’t help it – it’s a singing sort of feeling!
(See how I got around to my point there? Now how about if I chill as I start my next paragraph so you don’t think I’m totally off MY rocker)
The reality is that Moda Bella Solids have been around for some time and though similar to Kona Solids with respect to the quality they’re known for in the industry, I love Bellas most for the fact that whenever I’ve wanted to pair a Moda printed fabric with a solid, I need only seek out my handy, dandy Bella Color Card to find an exact match.
That’s why I was thrilled when it was recently announced at Spring Quilt Market that Moda would be releasing Bella Designer collections assembled by some of our favorite designers!
The beauty of these Bella Designer Collections is that each designer assembles the 12 fabrics that most exemplify the palette they tend to draw from when creating their collections. What’s more, each has also designed projects to go along with their Bella grouping. Above is Joanna Figueroa’s of Fig Tree Quilts, which arrived on our shop last week. Along with it…
One of the coolest things is that all the patterns in the booklet not only utilizes Joanna’s fresh, summery Bella Solids, but also a variety of different cream prints to complete the projects.
Now, before I start floating off the ground speaking italian like the aforementioned Dave from that great old (already?) movie – I want to just say that although the Fig Tree bundle is our first Ciao Bella! bundle – it’s certainly not our last.
Welcome to the Sweetwater Spring 2016 booth. I mean, how much Sweetwater Heaven can we take in one spot?! Not only are we geeked to the nth degree for the arrival of Treehouse Club (used in the quilt on the far right), but see the mini block quilts on the left wall? Yeah…those are the Sweetwater Bellas, and before you even have to ask – yep. We’ll have the pattern booklet for the minis too!
Did you know that Ciao means both Hello and goodbye, in Italian? If you didn’t, you do now.
Ciao Bella and Happy Sewing,
First – a BOM update in the form of the above photo. Yes indeed, kits are being assembled and gorgeousness is about to happen, friends! We’ve still got a little over a month before the July 22nd first ever Serendipity Woods Block of the Month project kickoff and I’m pleased to announce that already – the response has been extraordinary! Rather than spend too much time reiterating about it (of course if you need a refresher or are newly in-the-know about it and want more info – DO click the link – quicklikeabunny!), I want to inspire some thoughts on sewing spaces and why they matter.
First, let me start by saying I completely GET that for most of us, available space is at a premium, especially in busy homes with children. Often that means sewing machines come out of a closet when needed, only to be tucked back into that closet when we’ve whipped up whatever something we wanted or needed to make. Sometimes that’s unavoidable and it is what it is; yet its hard to feel inspired to sew when the process of sewing involves SETTING UP all the time. Ideally, having a space somewhere where all our sewing happiness can live without having to be put away is so great because it allows us to sit down to sew whenever the mood strikes or whenever the free time presents itself (like naptime…oh yes, I remember naptime!).
When my kids were small, my machine was set up in a fairly large space in our basement. It worked great because for one thing, my sewing space didn’t have to be neat all the time! It was also right off our family room so the kids could be playing nearby and I was close if they needed me. The other great thing about basement sewing spaces is that often there’s plenty of room to spread out. I took a moment to search ‘Basement sewing room’ (since I just don’t seem to have a photo of mine from the past) and just LOOK what I found:
Now, while I do miss the spaciousness of my basement sewing studio, I learned a couple of things – first of which is that I honestly don’t technically need that much space all in one spot (but trust me, I love spare closets!). Not to mention – the biggest drawback to having a basement sewing studio is DINNER; rather, having to drop everything to go upstairs and make it. I realized what I really wanted to do was to sew some and work some, then sew some and work some more. I found that with a basement studio, I was less inclined to volley back and forth between the two and more inclined to do one for a long period, then the other. That wasn’t really working for me.
So. Enter a room like this:
Formal. I am not. WE are not. Never have been. But still, for the last few houses, we’ve been graced with a superfluous room – a formal dining room…usually right off the kitchen where clearly I make dinner…or someone (like my handsome Superman) does. Did I mention not technically needing all that much space in one spot?
Fast forward to this afternoon when I took this photo:
For sewing – I really just need one corner. You really just need one corner.
So ‘What’s the update on the Modern Heritage Block of the Month prep,’ you ask? Okay, okay…
I’m really excited for us to get started on our Block of the Month project too. In the meantime though, I wanted you to have a chance to spend a little time thinking about your space and how to make it most inspiring for you to create, JUST when you want to create. I hope you have at least a little sewing corner you can call your own. I’d love to know more about it, if you feel like sharing.
Until next time – happy sewing 🙂
I know – you can chastise me later for not constructing an immediate, lengthy and glorious post about all the wonderments of Spring Quilt Market 2016, the moment I got home from Salt Lake City, Utah a few weeks ago. Suffice to say, there were wonderments – MANY of them, but since Market, I’ve been OH-SO busy planning OH-SO-MUCH-MORE important stuff to share with you!
Okay, okay – I’ll take a sec to share a few pics from quilt market, but only a few before I share what I REALLY want to tell you about…
Quilt Market wonderments…like meeting this girl:
And this girl:
Moving on to Quilt Market itself, how can I forget our visit to the Glamper?
Okay, okay, okay! Before I get too lost in the ‘nostalgia’ part of Quilt Market 2016, I want to talk about what I really, really, REALLY need to share with you in this post:
Ah yes – this brings me to the most important reason for my blog post today – the announcement of the first ever Serendipity Woods Block of the Month project!
It starts with Amy’s Modern Heritage Quilt book as our guide, which will take us through a 9 month pseudo Mystery BOM project creating a whole new quilt (aka – not in the book) with associated block instructions which can be found on corresponding pages.
Most importantly, we’ll learn together a little (probably a lot) more about quilting with a modern feel, yet preserving some of the tried and true, historical pattern styles. I don’t know about you, but I am so game!
The short, simple, to-the-point details:
What: Serendipity Woods Modern BOM 2016
When: July 22, 2017 – April 22, 2017
- Reservation Fee/First Month’s shipment – $39.50 +$4.89 shipping (includes Modern Heritage Quilts book and your first month’s instructions and fabrics, including Kona Snow background)
- Remaining 8 months – $12.50 + $4.89 shipping/ each month (includes instructions and all fabric needed for associated month)
- Deadline for registration is July 1st, so we’re sure to have all the supplies needed in stock, on time!
Fabrics included are from our Serendipity Woods’ Happy Scrappy Modern Bundle, curated especially for this Modern Heritage Quilts BOM project.
- How: Several Ways:
- Tell us RIGHT HERE (a simple, ‘Count me in for the BOM’ will suffice. We’ll take it from there)
- Find our post on Instagram, Facebook, or Ello and tell us there
- Purchase our ‘First Month BOM’ listing at Etsy (subsequent months will invoice through Paypal) HERE
- Tell us RIGHT HERE (a simple, ‘Count me in for the BOM’ will suffice. We’ll take it from there)
What else, what else, what else? Nothing, except we’re so excited and we hope you are too!
Pam and the Bunny Crew
PS – one more photo I ought to share of another miraculous girl I met during my adventure in Utah:
Happy Monday Crafty Friends!
Are you as shocked as I am that I’m actually posting a second CLH blog post in one week? Throughout the course of the last *almost* year since we opened Serendipity Woods Fabric Shop, it’s taken me some time to get my sea legs about me with respect to the preservation of the origins of my interest in quilt fabric at all – QUILTING! It’s been hard to carve out time, but that’s changing!
Finally, I’m finding a better balance between the shop and sewing; actually creating pretty consistently once again. What does that mean exactly? Well, it means I’ve got more things to post that will hopefully be a bit more inspiring you, to my friends here. What it also means is it’s about time I officially claimed my blog at Bloglovin so it’s easier for people to find. That’s why I have to post this little ditty here:
<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14018457/?claim=3w3ju7ua8tr”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>
Moving on…I got a little inspired by Magpies last week.
One of my favorite things about sharing my creative space with our fabric shop is that I’m often pulled by one fabric, then across the room to another fabric, which somehow seem to want to be connected. The Magpies above, have long been a favorite of mine since arriving in our shop. Of course they belong to a larger collection which, in an of itself, is intended to coordinated in such a way that the fabrics bring out the best in one another. Until, that is, some fabrics within the collection sell out, leaving others to fend for themselves and…well…find NEW friends. I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes they have a little help.
Anyway, without getting too wordy since I’m still not finished with my project (plus I’m technically on vacation with Superman for a little something called our 25th wedding anniversary) – I found this scrummy little bundle of bolts on my studio table early one morning last week.
The coolest part is that these fabrics originate from 5 different lines/4 different manufacturers – YET, aren’t they so sweet together? So after doing a bit of design work, I started cutting…
Then I spent some time whipping up some HST’s and a couple of the 16 blocks I’ll need for what I’ve decided to call my Marvelous Magpies quilt.
Truly, I’m so excited to get back to it, but for this moment – I’m just going to celebrate being a really lucky girl. Stay tuned for more about my little magpie friends, a bit more about the other fabrics above too, and a tutorial so you’ll be able to make your own Marvelous Magpies quilt too. Go ahead – say it with me…SQUEEE!!!
Until next time and as always – Happy Sewing,
As usual, it’s been a while since I’ve shared here at the blog. Frankly – pesky social media sites – it’s always easy to toss up a quick photo on Instagram or Facebook, which is a bit like posting to the world on January 1st that you’ve resolved to lose twenty pounds. Somehow, proclaiming it diminishes the urgency to actually follow through. I always mean to write a blog post to share completed projects, but if I share it on social media first – the blog post tends not to happen.
So – other than a few ‘in progress’ photos I shared of my newest Sea Holly quilt, I’ve saved my ‘finish’ post for here there I could toss out a few helpful hints I thought you might find useful.
For instance, this quilt required a whole boatload of triangles sewn together. Sometimes, if I’m not careful, I invariably sew down the wrong edge and wind up with a whole boatload of seam ripping to do. To avoid this, I lay out all my pieces on a portable something I can carry from my cutting mat to my sewing machine so that the edge that needs to be sewn faces my machine exactly as it will sit beneath my presser foot.
Then I can just pick each piece up, sew all at once in a daisy chain which I can then cut apart and press once I’ve carried it back to my table.
Aside from preparing all my pieces for what I planned on being an ‘assembly over time’ sort of process, I took a much needed step away from quilting to create a new bunny friend.
In all honesty, I expected this quilt to take me a whole lot longer than it did, so I intended to just do bits every day.
But after I got everything organized (with Caroline’s help), I found that everything went together so quickly, I couldn’t stop!
Before I knew it, and coincidentally right before a weekend, I had the entire quilt top assembled.
Since I’ve made up my mind not to shelf a quilt top for any period of time (else it tends to think it now LIVES there forever, unfinished), I sandwiched it on Friday night for a fresh start to machine quilting on Saturday morning.
Yep, I could have and probably should have done some straight line quilting to showcase the lovely pinwheels on this quilt. However, I find Stevie Wonder-style swirly/meandering in an all-over stipple stitch to be relaxing as heck! Also, my new favorite Aurifil thread shade lately has been 2410 – Pale Pink. I used it for my Love Quilt below too (which admittedly, I posted on social media but not here)…
For both quilts, the Pale Pink Aurifil for machine quilting made especially good sense because I used this same gorgeous Art Gallery fabric for the backing…
As you can see above, I couldn’t help but piece the binding since there is quite a bit leftover of the fabrics showcased in the quilt.
Ultimately, my main draw to this quilt design in particular (aside from being completely in love with the Retro colorway of the Sea Holly collection), is that the finished quilt is 58″ square, and I have a frequent need for multiple square quilts…
Above is the ottoman that lives in our living room. Emma and her gal pals, Ruby, Tess and Ivy tend to spend quality time on said ottoman, playing with toys, chewing on tiny tennis balls, eating treats, and occasionally throwing up those treats all over whatever quilt happens to be beneath their sweet little schnauzer bodies at the time. Lest I mention another reeeeally good reason to choose premium quality fabric: it launders beautifully and fades SO MUCH LESS than discount fabrics.
Lastly, I mentioned social media here and there throughout this post. I guess the point is that even though my preference is to blog about the things I make so I can share a bit more detail, it’s not always possible to find the time. With that said, if you are a social media bug, you can find more of my daily goings on at the following locations:
and my ESPECIALLY NEW favorite: Ello
Happy Quilting, Friends 🙂
Well, remember how totally on FIRE I was a while back with my progress for the above Sugar Stars quilt? Then everyone was like – ‘Seriously? What happened to that quilt she was making? She never. Even. Published. The. Finish.’
It’s true – this is the first time I’m publishing my finished quilt because, as on fire as I was to get it finished, this happened:
Wouldn’t you freeze too? The bottom line is that quilting, like life in general, presents us with brick walls. Sometimes we freeze because, doggone it, we just wanted to start something, move along with a comfortable sense of propulsion, and get it done so we can enjoy the pleasant fruits of our labor. When we meet those brick walls, however, it sometimes becomes less about propulsion and more about learning something along the way. My response to that? I didn’t want to learn something along the way…I just wanted to start a quilt and finish it in a timely manner. No fuss no bother. Pth. The Quilting Universe had other plans, evidently.
As it turned out, it took me a while to admit out loud that I had two choices – Either cut a new backing piece (which sounded wasteful and I don’t do wasteful very well, especially when it comes to fabric) or veer to the more time consuming remedy – piece it with scraps. The cool thing is that my Sugar Stars Quilt is made up of 168 Easy Corner Triangle units like this:
Which, after sewing a white square in the corner on the diagonal and accurately cutting off the scrap with a rotary cutter and ruler, leaving an exact 1/4″ seam allowance – left me with a whole lot of these:
which I sewed together…
to make these…
which then could become 3″ pinwheels like these:
So as much as I hated how long it took me to rectify my error, I love the back of my Sugar Stars quilt so much more than if I’d cut the backing piece the right size in the first place.
In a nutshell, the fabric is from the Roots and Wings Collection by Deena Rutter for Riley Blake. It wasn’t supposed to be flannel. I ordered the wrong fabric. So, even though a fair bit of it did sell at the shop, it was the only flannel we had at the shop and I didn’t want people to get confused as I had been, accidentally buying something they didn’t mean to buy. So, I’ve used it for the backings of the last two quilts I’ve made. It’s quite soft and has coincidentally coordinated perfectly!
Anyway – one more quilt down, and more quilting lessons learned. The moral of this story: If you know you’re going to have a whole bunch of scraps that will be about the same size and shape – cut them accurately with a rotary cutter, instead of just lopping them off with scissors at ‘about’ 1/4″. You might thank yourself later that all your scraps are exactly the same size. I sure did! Happy Sewing, friends 🙂
Oh – Quilt kit. Yes. Here: