Friday, July 30, 2021

Pretty in Pluses Reveal / Beauties Pageant 139

I wanted to share a new pattern I’ve been working on called Pretty in Pluses! 

This design was precipitated by a fat quarter bundle of Hindsight, by Anna Maria Horner for FreeSpirit Fabrics. I adore AMH’s collections, but this one in particular features large-scale prints. I had a hard time finding a pattern that would work with this line without cutting everything into little bits, so in the end, I just designed something myself.

The result is a modern take on a plus sign quilt. It’s a whole-composition design—in other words, the larger sizes are created by enlarging the plus signs, not by adding more blocks. I’ll be releasing the pattern in early September. It still needs to go through a round of testing and tech editing before it’s ready for you to sew. : )

I’m crushing hard on this finish, friends. Hindsight includes new colorways of AMH’s echinacea print. I think it might be my favorite fabric design of all time from her ...

I originally wanted to use the American Made Brand solid in light turquoise as the background but opted for Kona Silver instead because this beautiful print got lost against the pale green ...

The center block was an opportunity for a little fussy cutting ...

Pretty in Pluses’ simple, streamlined design was the perfect opportunity to get fancy with the quilting. My friend Ophelia quilted this with the most beautiful panto. I’m in love with the texture!

I’m excited to get this pattern into testers hands and see what they create. I’ll be sharing those beauties here and on Instagram in another month!


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Friday, July 23, 2021

Love Boldly in Red, White, and Blue / Beauties Pageant 138


Earlier this summer I organized a quilt-along for my Love Boldly pattern. The motivation was purely selfish: I figured the event would be a great way to get my own patriotic-themed quilt finished.

The beauty you see pictured here was quilted in May and then sat, just waiting for the binding, as Memorial Day, Flag Day, and the Fourth of July—three legitimate flag-loving holidays came and went. It wasn’t until this week, however, that this project made it to the top of my to-do list. Now it is done, in time for a string of pseudo-holidays that have nothing to do with flags. Will anyone else be celebrating National Potato Day on August 19 or National Bow Tie Day on August 28? Yeah, me neither, but I’ve got a beautiful flag quilt on hand for both.


I opened a bundle of Basic Grey’s Biscuits and Gravy to sew this top, using Kona Silver in the background to provide some contrast with the white stripes. The pieced backing features more Biscuits and Gravy as well as strips of a print from Basic Grey’s Nova collection.


My recent predilection for finishing bindings in chunky 12-weight thread continues. I just can’t get enough of it! I think the chunky stitches add a little personality to a binding. As you can see in the picture below, I also used two different fabrics in this binding, but really, it’s those handmade stitches that make it sing.


The quilting was done by Maz Q’s Sewing and Quilting Studio, one of the three Longarm League quilters who supported the quilt-along. If you have a Love Boldly project to quilt—even if you sewed it apart from the quilt-along—Maz Q’s, Morning Song Quilting Co., and Mist Flower Quilts are all offering 20% off an edge-to-edge panto. This offer expires on August 31, however, so contact one of those talented longarmers soon! (To learn more about this pattern, click here. To purchase your own copy, click here.)

I have a bunch of other projects that are waiting in the wings for a few finishing touches, but my productivity has been seriously hampered of late, and it’s all the fur baby’s fault! There are days when my top priority is to get a nap—or two—and do my best to act like a human being. My cognitive functioning hasn’t been this poor since my boys were infants!
 
Gracie and her big sister, Rose, are getting along really well, though. At first there was a lot of Wrestle Mania, but now the interactions we’re seeing are more along the lines of Fight Club. Heaven help me! Both girls instigate the puppy play, but it’s Gracie who’s interested in cuddling. : )


I am not getting much sewing and quilting accomplished these days—I hope you are! Dazzle me with your recent finishes—add them to the linky below!

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Friday, July 16, 2021

For a Special Little Dude / Beauties Pageant 137

If you read my post from yesterday, you’ve heard that I sewed a project from Cheryl Brickey’s new book, Just One Charm Pack Quilts, and really enjoyed the process. I made the Medallion quilt from the book. At about 39 inches square, it was a satisfyingly fast sew.

All the fabric came from my stash. As I mentioned in my previous post, the basis for the fabric pull was Sink or Swim, one of Rae Ritchie’s collections for Dear Stella. I supplemented Sink and Swim’s many blues with some yellow prints from Basic Grey’s Biscuits and Gravy line and used a brown swirly Kimberbell print to tie it all together.

I decided to free-motion quilt this project. FMQ tends to be challenging for me, mainly because I do it so infrequently. I allow just enough time to pass between FMQ projects that I get rusty and make silly mistakes, even with a simple stipple. So this is a note to Future Michelle: Set your presser foot to zero pressure during your next FMQ project, girl! Pressure is only going to undermine your ability to move the quilt smoothly. Also: This is no time to play chicken with a small backing. You need enough overhang so you can maneuver well around the edges.

I countered my FMQ snafus with a binding triumph. I am somewhat obsessed these days with finishing my bindings with chunky stitches. It’s hard to see the white 12-weight thread on the pinstripe binding at the top of the post. The navy anchor print, used on one corner of the quilt binding, shows it off nicely, though ...

I rarely start a project with a recipient in mind; I like making what I want and figuring out who will receive a project as I go. I realized mid-sew that a quilt of this size would be perfect to donate. So this beauty is going to Jack’s Basket, an organization that supports new parents of babies with Down syndrome. This brings me a ridiculous amount of joy. My own kiddo with Down syndrome turned 11 this week. I know there’s a special little dude out there who is already rocking his bonus chromosome and needs a badass sailor-themed baby quilt. : )

Have you any finishes to share this week? Post them to the current Beauties Pageant!

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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Just One Charm Pack Quilts: Medallion Quilt

Hello, there—and welcome to my stop on the Just One Charm Pack Quilts blog hop! : )

If you’re new around here, I’m Michelle, a quilt maker and independent pattern designer based in Massachusetts. If you’ve been here a while, you know I’ve made my fair share of Cheryl Brickey’s patterns, so when she invited me to make a quilt from her latest book, Just One Charm Pack Quilts, I jumped at the chance!

My initial run-through of the book did not disappoint. Cheryl challenged herself to design a series of projects that all require a single charm pack, a secondary fabric, and a background fabric. What results is a lovely collection of wall hangings, baby quilts, and small throws.

I fell hard for the Medallion design but didn’t have a charm pack I wanted to use to make my own version. (It’s not that I didn’t have a charm pack—or 12—for the endeavor; I just didn’t feel like breaking into one!) Instead, I used a fat quarter bundle of Sink or Swim, by Rae Ritchie for Dear Stella, to create my own charm squares.

That’s what so nice about this book: It’s versatile. Cheryl offers advice for you no matter your situation. Don’t have a charm pack in your stash, have a partial set on hand, or feeling too stubborn to open one up (HA!)? No problem.

If you’re like me—making a charm pack quilt from a fat quarter bundle—and want to make a bigger project, many of the designs are easily enlarged by sewing more blocks. If I had more of that swirly brown fabric from Kimberbell, I would have sewn another border or two, even though it would have necessitated doing a little math to accommodate the medallion format.

I did, however, have plenty of Sink and Swim, so I used up as much of it as I could. The pieced backing and binding is all from that collection.

I really enjoyed my first go with Just One Charm Pack Quilts. From my perspective, the book’s scope is larger than other books that provide precut-friendly patterns. For me, a diehard stasher, Cheryl’s designs get me to use what I already have on hand, which means I get to the sewing part faster, without placing a fabric order or swinging by my local quilt shop. Need a baby quilt, like, now? Want to start a new project tonight? This book will help you do it!

I have a few more things to say about this quilt—about the quilting, the finishing, and the extra-special recipient. If you want to learn more, stop by Friday, July 16, for the rest of the details and for the week’s Beauties Pageant. : )

For more on Just One Charm Pack Quilts, head to Cheryl’s blog, Meadow Mist Designs.

For more projects I’ve made from Cheryl’s patterns and her previous book, Modern Plus Sign Quilts, with Paige Alexander, read these posts:

* Sneaky, Sneaky, Sneaky Me!

* Rick Rack Runner

* Déjà vu Baby Quilt

* Merry Christmas to Me 

* Quilting By Check

* A PB&J Finish

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Friday, July 9, 2021

She's Here! / Beauties Pageant 136

For a long time, the running joke at my house was that my tombstone would read: Michelle Cain / 1974-20XX / She did dishes. (For real. Just ask my husband.) I’m pretty sure something like this would be more appropriate now: Michelle Cain / 1974-2021 / Death by puppy!

Friends, Gracie has arrived, and she’s kicking my butt! I mean, she’s the softest and cutest thing you’ve ever seen. She weighed in at 10 pounds yesterday, and most of it is floof. And she’s super sweet and cuddly—way more relaxed than her older sister ever was. But the middle-of-the-night potty runs and the constant shenanigans ... I am sleep deprived and barely functioning.

My ability to string words together will cease any second now, so let me give you the high-level synopsis: Everyone is doing well. Rose was stressed at first but rallied a lot faster than we thought she would. The girls play often and well together—if you consider rolling around on the floor and biting each other and tackling each other playing well together.

All this puppiness is temporary. We’re trying to enjoy it while it lasts. : )



 


 

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Friday, July 2, 2021

Glint and Glimmer / Beauties Pageant 135

In between moments of drizzle yesterday, I managed to get some help for a quick photo shoot. I’m calling this lovely—albeit currently wrinkly—finish Glint and Glimmer.

You might recall that this was a neglected WIP until recently, when I decided to use a submission deadline from Curated Quilts to get myself in gear and finish it. For the record, I did submit it to the gallery in the magazine’s upcoming polygon issue, but it was not accepted. This was no surprise. In my opinion, Curated Quilts has an improv vibe and likes quilts accompanied by interesting backstories, and Glint and Glimmer fits into neither of those categories. It was worth a shot, though, and the opportunity helped me wrap up this project!

As you can see from the pics, I went along with my plan to quilt this top with 12 weight Aurifil thread. Some of the quilting was done by machine; some was done by hand. I gave each color of gemstone its own unique quilting treatment and then quilted along an inner hexagon here and there where I thought it was needed.

At 37 inches by 48 inches, the final product ended up being smaller than most of my quilts. I could have kept piecing, but I really thought this hexagon experiment had succeeded and I was satisfied with the results.

For the first time, I also finished the binding with chunky hand stitching. I will definitely be doing that again in the future!

This post would not be complete without the picture below, a shot of Glint and Glimmer alongside the resident photo bomber here at From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters, Rose. If you read last week’s post, you know that Rose is getting a baby sister on Saturday. For all you wacky dog lovers out there, I’ll be posting puppy pics in the stories on my Instagram feed and in the grid on Rose’s Instagram feed—you know, just in case you can’t wait until next week’s blog post to see the newcomer! : )

(What’s that you say? You didn’t know Rose has her own IG account? Yes, we’re that kind of dog owners—HA!)


Related links:

* Returning to My Ombre Hexagons blog post

* Machine-Sewing with 12 Weight Thread blog post

* How I Machine-Piece Hexagons tutorial

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Friday, June 25, 2021

Ready, Set, Puppy! / Beauties Pageant 134

Love Boldly by Betsy and Narda

I have been a busy, busy sewist and quilter lately—well, as busy as I can be without actually touching my sewing machine. I’ve been drafting a new pattern (fun!), collating and bagging freshly printed patterns for wholesale (fun! fun!), and plotting new windows treatments for my first floor (not fun, but necessary!). 

This may sound as if I have a bunch of free time on my hands when, actually, the exact opposite is true: My boys’ summer is in full swing and I spend a good part of my days getting them to where they need to be. That’s me, crafter-cum-chauffeur. All this quilty activity is instead me trying to get as much done as possible because we’re getting a puppy next week!

Love Boldly by Barbara

Love Boldly by Simone

We’ve been trying to get a little floof for over a year, and there are some puppers in Rhode Island who will be ready for their new homes over the Fourth of July weekend. My husband, kids, and I are over-the-moon excited. And Rose, our current furry family member? Well, Rose is about to have her world turned upside down by a little sister named Gracie. (For posts on Rose, see Quilting with a Golden Retriever; Rose, the Reluctant Quilt Model; and Rose, Textile Enemy No. 1.)

As you can tell from the accompanying pics, we don’t have any yet of sweet Gracie. (I promise to remedy that.) This post is instead peppered with pics from the recent Love Boldly quilt-along that I hosted on Instagram. I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to see what others create with my patterns. These are beauties for sure. : )

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The pageant rules are simple:
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