Friday, August 7, 2020

More Christmas Chalets / Beauties Pageant 92

No designer does Christmas fabrics like Brigitte Heitland of Basic Grey. In the past I’ve sewn multiple projects with her Evergreen and 25th and Pine collections, so it’s little wonder that I busted through my ample supply of Juniper Berry to create yet another Basic Grey Christmas project.

At the top of the post is Chalet #2, the foil to a quilt I finished back in May, pictured below. Whereas my original version was built around a darker background, this latest one uses my more typical light background—and wow, does it make the fabrics pop.

I adjusted my approach to Chalet #2 in ways other than the palette. I added a thin border around the perimeter to protect all of my points, I sewed the trees to look less scrappy, and I used a bold, contrasting binding. That’s not to say I don’t love the original; these projects are just two quilts made with the same fabrics and the same pattern that are, in the end, rather different. (By the way, the Chalet quilt pattern is by Kate Spain and available here, on her website.)

The easy-to-overlook hero in both quilts is the tone-on-tone gray polka dot that serves as background and binding to Chalet #1 and rooftops and tree trunks to Chalet #2. It’s from Riley Blake, and I finished the bolt my local quilt shop had in stock. : )

This project was quilted by Seventh Heaven Quilting in a panto I have had my eye on for years. It’s Ginger Snap by Urban Elementz, and its soft swirls make the perfect complement to this pattern’s sharp lines and angles. 

You know that if I encounter that Riley Blake polka dot in a quilt shop, I will have to buy some for my stash. That was my approach to another great basic—Zen Chic’s own take on polka dots, which I used here and here and which will be rereleased this fall as part of the Quotations collection. Yahoo! 

It seems silly to get excited about simple prints, but I suspect you can relate. Is there a basic you have invested in again and again?


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Friday, July 31, 2020

Gingiber's Merrily Quilt / Beauties Pageant 91


Back in March, I declared 2020 the Year of the Christmas Quilt. By that point in the year, I had planned five lap-size Christmas projects for using or gifting during the 2020 holiday season. For a lady who had sewn three Christmas quilts in the previous six years, five Christmas quilts in less than one year seemed like a lot!

The first was a version of Kate Spain’s Chalet pattern in Basic Grey’s Juniper Berry collection. I’m revealing the second finish—Gingiber’s Merrily pattern—today ...


Moda kitted the fabric for this free pattern years ago, but it wasn’t until a guildmate shared her completed quilt that I fell in love with it and hunted down the panel required to sew it.

This is the only panel I’ve ever purchased, and can you see why? Stacie Bloomfield’s illustrations are the sweetest—I could not resist! The penguins alone, shown at the top of the post, made the project worth my while, but Mr. Moose is pretty darn cute, too.


With the panel in my possession, I was able to locate the coordinating Merrily fabrics, all of which went out of print a few years ago. I was determined to use up all that I had bought, as you can see in the pieced backing for this project ...


I knew these Christmas critters merited a special quilting treatment, so I passed the top onto Seventh Heaven Quilting. This panto, from Urban Elementz, is called Winterfest.


As it turns out, two Merrily quilts can be made from one panel. So although this first one is done and will live with me and my family, a second one has been cut and is ready to sew.

If you’ve indulged in some Christmas in July sewing, I would love to see it. Please share it, along with any other recent finishes, in the linky below!

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Friday, July 24, 2020

Stealing from Peter to Sew for Paul / Beauties Pageant 90


One of my sewing goals this year is to decimate my stash of Denyse Schmidt fabrics. I love Denyse’s vintage-modern take on design—in fact, she’s the reason I got into quilting—but I need some turnover in my stash. So I picked out a few patterns I wanted to make, reasoning that I would be using up some of my favorite prints in a quilt or two that I’d keep for myself.

I introduced you to my first finish dedicated to realizing this goal—a baby-size Ship’s Ladder—a few weeks ago (see it here). Today I’m unveiling Ship’s Ladder quilt in the lap size ...


This pattern is also from Denyse, and I sewed it exclusively in her New Bedford collection, a line I bought back in 2015. I don’t think I’ve ever followed a quilt pattern to a tee as I did here—I even swiped the quilting plan from the pattern. But, hey, why mess with perfection? Denyse knows what she’s doing.


The problem with sewing with these DS fabrics in multiple projects simultaneously is that I find myself stealing from Peter to sew for Paul. For example, I wanted to use more of the black solid in this quilt but had already chopped it up for a version of Stepping Stones, by Blair Stocker of Wise Craft Quilts, that’s in process. Then, of course, I wished I had more of the New Bedford oranges to use in Stepping Stone. Alas, they were pieced into my two versions Ship’s Ladder.

Admittedly, I did scour the web to make some special DS purchases for these projects. These beauties—from Washington Depot, Eastham, and more—will flesh out the various color palettes I’m working with and provide yardage to make coordinating backings.

Are you a collector of DS fabrics? If so, what is your favorite line? I am inclined to say Hope Valley—the first line of fabric I ever bought in fat quarters—but a more accurate answer is whatever DS line I am sewing with at the moment. : )

To my fellow DS fans, here are some spots on Instagram and online to find her past collections:


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Friday, July 10, 2020

A Huge, Scrappy Finish / Beauties Pageant 89


I haven’t made many bed-size quilts. Medium-ish throws—say, 55 inches by 65 inches—are my happy place. But when I designed my Warm and Cool Coin Quilt pattern, I knew I needed to tackle a twin-size version of it, just to see that bold diagonal line traverse a big quilt.

My go-to complementary colors are orange and blue—I just like the way orange brightens up blue!—so that’s where I headed in my scrap bin for this project. In all, piecing the top ate up over 3 yards of orange and blue scraps.

As you can see in the picture below, I used fabric from Cotton and Steel, Carolyn Friedlander, Anna Maria Horner, Denyse Schmidt, V and Co., and more. The soft gray background is Kona Shadow, and the darker gray binding is Kona Graphite.


The owner of my local quilt shop quilted this for me with a diagonal plaid pantograph. I love how the quilting design is linear but still softens the sharp vertical and horizontal lines of the coin stacks.

If you want to make your own scrappy coin quilt, my Warm and Cool Coin Quilt pattern is available exclusively at Quilt Pattern Mart.

And if you need more proof that I’m a serial orange-and-blue-quilt maker, check out these quilts from the FBTB archives ...
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The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
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Friday, July 3, 2020

Blogger Stuff and Pretty Pictures / Beauties Pageant 88


I have had multiple conversations with other bloggers lately about various issues we’ve encountered posting in the new Blogger interface and commenting on other people’s blogs. If you’re not a blogger, this post may not contain any helpful information for you. In that case, I’ve added a bunch of pretty pictures of my latest finish. It’s a baby-size Ship’s Ladder quilt in New Bedford fabric. Both the pattern and fabric are from Denyse Schmidt, and I’ll go into more detail about this quilt when I post its companion, a lap-size version of Ship’s Ladder, in the next few weeks.

Disclaimer

I hate dealing with the technical part of writing and maintaining a blog. Whenever I try to research an issue, I rarely get the cut-and-dry answer I’m hoping for (if I get any answer at all). That’s why I’m writing this post. And honestly, I am not in a position to advise anyone on such technical issues. In a past life I handled the production of the website of a national magazine—so I consider myself smarter than the average bear on this topic—but truly, I’m no expert. Consider yourself warned.


Problems Commenting

I’ve heard from friends that they’ve had problems commenting on my blog or others’ blogs. I recently had issues commenting from my iPhone using Safari. Even though I had signed on to Google, the comment form didn’t recognize that. I wrote my comment and submitted it anyway, without the browser acknowledging that I am Michelle @ From Bolt to Beauty, and nothing happened. The comment wasn’t published, and there was no indication it went to a moderator.

I did not research this issue. I simply downloaded the Chrome app to my phone and started using that instead of Safari. It worked like a charm. That fix has worked for friends who have had comparable issues—sometimes from their desktop, sometimes from their phone, sometimes using Safari, and sometimes not.

Paragraph Spacing in Bloglovin’

I started using the new Blogger interface a few weeks ago. I haven’t had any problems with it. I find it pretty intuitive, and I like how it allows me to search my past posts.

But I realized that, since transitioning to the new Blogger, my text was appearing differently in Bloglovin’ than it was on my blog . (By the way, I have a love-hate relationship with Bloglovin’. I love that I can read posts from my favorite blogs in one app. I hate that I can’t block followers who hawk inappropriate content.) I always return twice at the end of paragraphs to create a blank line between them, but those breaks were not reflected in Bloglovin’, which made for difficult reading. I looked at the code of my recent posts and realized that if I had a blank space after the ending punctuation of a paragraph and then returned twice, the blank line would successfully appear in Bloglovin’. Is that the most stupid workaround or what?  (The answer is yes, yes it is.)


Disappearing Posts

The latest issue I encountered was a blog post that simply disappeared. It existed in the list of posts in Blogger and I could find the corresponding comments in Blogger, but there was no content on the published post other than the title. Crud.

I’d like to blame this on the new Blogger interface, but I suspect I somehow caused this mishap. I had no backup of this post, but I was able to cobble the post back together by referring to the version that existed on Bloglovin’ (so there’s another brownie point for that app). Then I did something you Blogger users should do right now: I backed up my entire blog.

To back up a blog in Blogger, go to Settings. If you edit more than one blog as I do, make sure you’ve selected the one you want to back up. Scroll down to Manage Blog and select “Back up content.” Select download, and you’re golden. This action backs up posts, pages, and comments.

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Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of a rather boring blog post! If you have any Blogger words of wisdom to share, please do so in the comments. Kind words about Ship’s Ladder are also appreciated. : )

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The pageant rules are simple:
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Friday, June 26, 2020

Warm and Cool Coin Quilt / Beauties Pageant 87


I am happy to announce that the first From Bolt to Beauty pattern—my Warm and Cool Coin Quilt—is officially available for immediate download at Quilt Pattern Mart.

As a modern twist on the tried-and-true coin quilt, this pattern is very “me.” That traditional, bold geometry, however, is turned on its head with the simple addition of a diagonal line, which gives you the quilter an opportunity to play with color. You could separate your fabric into warm and cool color groupings, divide your scraps into two complementary color palettes, or create your own unique approach.

I made the lap-size cover quilt with a layer cake of Kate Spain’s Canyon collection. I have a second version, made with scraps, that just needs to be bound. I hope to unveil that soon!

For me, different designs check off different boxes, and this pattern ...

* Can work with precuts or scraps. The instructions are written for layer cakes, fat eighths, and scraps.

* Is a quick and easy sew. In particular, if you use precuts, you can whip up this top up in a weekend.

* Offers a variety of sizes. Directions for baby, lap, and twin quilts are included.

* Is good for all levels of experience. This pattern requires a combination of traditional piecing and simple paper-piecing, making it a good way for a beginner to try out a new technique. (Tutorial on paper-piecing coming soon!) But if you’re an experienced quilter with a bin full of scraps, this will be a satisfying sew for you, too.

This pattern was professionally designed and tech-edited. It also was thoroughly tested by a small army of quilters in three different countries. : ) I’ll be highlighting testers’ quilt tops on Instagram in the coming days, but here is a sneak peek ...

Kim (@serenityquilts on Instagram) juxtaposed two colorways of Alison Glass fabrics for her lap-size quilt. The bold colors on a crisp white background makes for stunning quilt top!

Photo courtesy of @serenityquilts

Beth (@bcurran322 on Instagram) broke into a bundle of Tula Pink’s Dots and Stripes to create her own beauty. It never would have occurred to me to use just two prints in different colorways for this project, but it completely works. It’s a show stopper!

Photo courtesy of @bcurran322

I’m especially excited to partner with Quilt Pattern Mart for this release. QPM debuted a few months ago as a one-stop shop for PDF patterns. The brainchild of Heather Kinion, it offers patterns from many well-known modern quilt designers ... and now me!

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The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
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Friday, June 19, 2020

Fund-Raising Success! / Beauties Pageant 86


When I start a new quilt project, it’s always for my pleasure. I work with the fabrics and design of my choosing. After all, making a quilt is a time commitment, and I want to tackle the projects that will bring me joy with the limited time I have to dedicate to this hobby.

Friends and family members have suggested over the years that I try to sell my quilts. I never do—I won’t recoup the investment of time and money I put into a project. Instead, I gift about 75 percent of the quilts I make. The rest live here at From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters with me and my family.

But recently, I gifted a quilt and raised money with it. I donated my quilt Grape Fizz to an Instagram fund-raiser to benefit various organizations that fight racism. This event, hosted by Mathew of Mister Domestic and Amber of Alderwood Studio, wrapped up last week, and my quilt sold for $450!

I made Grape Fizz back in 2016 and 2017, and after being displayed at MQX in 2018, it has been awaiting the perfect recipient. This fund-raiser was just that! I’m thrilled that it’s now at its new home in California and the Equal Justice Initiative received a substantial donation as a result. : )


I on occasion donate quilts—especially baby quilts—to organizations that get them in the hands of someone who needs them. My quilt guild, however, has donated multiple quilts to auctions. One in particular caused a bidding war and sold for a few thousand dollars. Others weren’t quite as successful. (I’m convinced that has nothing to do with the quilts that were donated but was an issue of marketing and getting the opportunity in front of the right eyes.)

If you have experience with donating to or running quilt auctions—online or in person—please share it with the rest of us in the comments below.

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The pageant rules are simple:
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Friday, June 12, 2020

Fastest Way to Finish a WIP / Beauties Pageant 85


I discovered the fastest way to finish a WIP: Sell the fabric!

I have been pretty diligent about pruning my stash over the past two years. I use what I have on hand, supplementing when necessary with smart purchases from my local quilt shops or online retailers. Gone are the days when I buy yardage just because I like it! Part of that process, at least recently, has been posting lots of fabric to sell on FeelGood Fibers, a secondhand fabric marketplace.

Using FGF has been an effective way to move fabric that doesn’t work for me anymore. So far I’ve sold 11 of the 14 lots I have posted. If you’re considering doing a little destashing, you might learn from my experience ...

What’s Worked for Me

My goal for posting this fabric was simple: Get it out of my life. This wasn’t just stuff I didn’t like; it was stuff I don’t think I could ever use. There was the Bonnie and Camille polka dot that was too pink for me, the Art Gallery floral that was lovely but not a palette I could work with, the graphic Carolyn Friedlander print whose cream background was too yellow for my projects.


I priced items to sell and did my best to estimate shipping. (All FGF prices include shipping within the United States.) After I had a few sales under my belt, I adjusted some price tags. Price points that worked for me were $12 for a yard of fabric, $16 to $20 or for a 2-yard cut, $25 for a modest collection of smaller cuts, and $35 for larger lots.

I took well-lit pictures of my fabric and was very specific about the size and condition of the fabric, including dimensions, whether it was prewashed, and the fact that I have a smoke-free, pet-friendly home. I also promoted everything on my regular Instagram account (@frombolttobeauty). I did this occasionally, because people don’t follow that account with the intent to purchase fabric. Including a notice about my FGF shop once in my feed and once in my stories seemed adequate. I did list each of the 14 lots to my secondary Instagram account (@fbtbdestash), pointing people to my FGF shop and making sure that I used #thegreatfabricdestash in each post. I know some of my sales came directly—and quickly—from those Instagram posts.

What I’ve Learned

I’ve learned that I’m not the smart fabric buyer I thought I was. Sure, some of the lots I posted were too traditional for my modern taste. Others were remnants from projects past. But half of them were things I bought because they were on sale. Moving forward, I’m going to buy what I love at full price instead of fabric I like at a reduced price.


What I Have Now

The three remaining lots I have on FGF are all canvas or home-dec sateens. I am fine with them sitting on FGF for a bit. If they don’t pique anyone’s interest, I’ll eventually price them so low that folks are just paying for the shipping; the fabric will in effect be free.

The lots I did sell have earned me a PayPal balance of over $200 (less the shipping costs). I will be spending every cent of it on new fabric purchases! : )

BTW: A word on the pictures included here ... The lot of Amy Butler fat quarters at the top of the post was slated for a project and then I decided to sell them. (Take that, WIP list!) The canvas fat quarters are still available at my FGF shop. The fat quarters from Bonnie and Camille’s Vintage Holiday also sold.

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The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
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Sunday, June 7, 2020

Grape Fizz to Be Auctioned Off



Update: The auction is over. Grape Fizz sold for $450, and the event overall raised more than $150,000!

A small army of makers is coming together this week to auction off items to benefit organizations that fight racism.

This effort, coordinated by Mathew of Mister Domestic and Amber of Alderwood Studio, is happening on Instagram at @misterdomesticfundraiser. The auction starts on Monday, June 8, and bids will be accepted through Friday, June 12. Over a hundred handmade items have already been listed!

I have donated Grape Fizz, shown in this post, to the event. It is a lap-size quilt (53 inches by 72 inches), the design for which appears in Amy Garro’s book, Paper Pieced Modern. It features an ombré array of Kona Cottons and Michael Miller Cotton Couture colors, ranging from a pale orchid to a deep grape, and a single floral print from Valori Wells.

The design and piecing, however, are upstaged by the custom quilting from Mary Gregory. This quilt is adorned with pebbles, ribbon candy, and paisleys. It’s really stunning work.


I am happy to support these organizations with this small gesture.

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Friday, June 5, 2020

An Easy, Breezy Quilt-Along / Beauties Pageant 84


Friends, I needed a reason to smile this week, so I started sewing a new version of my Ridiculously Easy Jelly Roll Quilt. Can I interest you in joining me in an easy, breezy quilt-along?

The plan is simple: Start when you want, finish when you want, sew at the speed that works for you!

I will be posting any in-progress shots on my Instagram account with the hashtag  #ridiculouslyeasyjellyrollquilt. If you want to keep tabs on this project, that’s the place to be.

Everyone is a winner in this quilt-along, and the prize is the satisfaction of making something beautiful with your own two hands. HA!

To get started on your own Ridiculously Easy Jelly Roll Quilt, download the free pattern here.

Beginner quilters, this is truly an easy pattern. As long as you know how to work your sewing machine, can read a pattern, and can sew a consistent quarter-inch seam, you’re good to go. And there is a small army of experienced quilters on Instagram who would love to answer any questions for you along the way.

By the way, I am sewing my project with a jelly roll of Basic Grey’s Gypsy Soul, pictured above, which I purchased at Green Fairy Quilts. Judi and Clint have a bunch of Moda precuts at good prices, and I received my fabric in just over a week. (I know many online retailers are behind in filling orders, so I was pleased with this turnaround and shipment from Utah to Massachusetts.)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/10sc4XEg2Ozdme0kir2Gfjx6vxMyZgVB3/view

I have so many quilts in the queue right now: Two just arrived at the longarmer, another is ready for quilting on my domestic, and yet another just needs to be bound. So of course, I started a new project. If you have one that’s crossed the finish line recently, good for you! Share it below, in this week’s linky.

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The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
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  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.


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Friday, May 29, 2020

Pageant Highlight Reel / Beauties Pageant 83


Were your ears ringing earlier this week, Beauties Pageant regulars? I was talking to my mom, also a quilter, a few days ago, and we were chatting about the usual suspects here on From Bolt to Beauty. I was telling her about the beautiful drawstring bag Anja sent to me from Canada (just because!), and we had a laugh about Roseanne’s sweet and sassy comments.

That’s what I love about hosting this humble little linky each week: It’s made the quilting blogosphere smaller for me, in a good way. I enjoy keeping tabs on what everyone is up to—like cheering Linda on as she finished the quilting on her temperature quilt or seeing what new scrappy creations Cynthia has to share.

And the inspiration this weekly celebration of finishes offers me is quality. This post includes three projects that got me thinking about potential future projects. At the top of the post, you’ll find Anja’s version of 3rd Story Workshop’s Common Ground pattern. I am crazy about that palette and think the quilting is stippling perfection. (I strive for curves that are that curvy!)

Below are two other awesome pieces. Margo’s unique take on a disappearing nine-patch reminded me of my own Mix and Mingle. That circular quilting really makes the project something special, doesn’t it?


And Sew Yummy’s Diamond Brights quilt top makes me want to abandon my propensity for white backgrounds—at least for a bit—and explore a darker alternative. OK, so it wouldn’t be the most practical of palette decisions when you live with a golden retriever as I do, but look at how the charcoal makes those colors pop!


The Pageant Highlight Reels don’t run regularly enough to feature all the great finishes people have shared. Which one got your creative juices flowing? Tell us about it in the comments below (and include the URL!). : )

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The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.


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