Friday, April 30, 2021

My Favorite Fabric and Notion Sources / Beauties Pageant 127

Last call for the Love Boldly Quilt-Along, starting May 3. Learn more here!

I love a good quilt shop and continue to shop in person when I can. But with the dwindling number of such establishments in my area and the restrictions Covid has placed on life in general, I treasure the online resources Ive found over the years. Each one is a little different and serves its purpose in my quest for the best quilting fabric and notions. Heres my take on six of my favorites ...


Crosscut Sewing Co. is part sewing studio and part online retailer. I go there when Im looking for cute fabric (the shop stocks tons of Riley Blakes beauties in particular) or substrates other than quilting cotton. Waxed canvas, linen blends, and garment fabric are always available for purchase, as are necessary bag-making notions.



Ive been shopping at Lark Cottons for years. What I like about it is its offering of new fabric collections alongside past favorites. I might go to the Lark Cottons site for the latest from Carolyn Friedlander, Heather Ross, or Ruby Star Society but know that I may be able to score something unexpected, like vintage Denyse Schmidt or an awesome OOP panel.


Sew Lux Fabric stocks the wares from a wide range of manufacturers—including Windham, Free Spirit, and Robert Kaufman—but I can sum up my motivation for shopping there in one word: Moda! Im a Moda girl at heart, and the selection I find at Sew Lux Fabric is vast. The site also has a great sale section that I use to stock up on yardage for quilt backs.


Shabby Fabrics unique niche among online fabric retailers is its wide offering of kits. In addition to selling quilt designs in kit form, Shabby Fabrics also offers kits for everything from tote bags to jelly-roll rugs. (SF has kitted my Ridiculously Easy Jelly Roll Quilt multiple times, and each iteration has been just beautiful!) If youre a fan of video tutorials, Shabby Fabrics also offers an extensive library on YouTube.


Stash Fabrics is another fabric site Ive been using for years. I return time after time because I know Stashs selection of must-have basics is thorough. My beloved Kona is stocked, as is bolt upon bolt of Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids. And whenever I contact the support team with a question of which background I should pick for the project at hand, they supplement my online-shopping experience with advice from a real person or two!

 

Quilt Pattern Mart is dedicated to selling PDF quilt patterns. What makes it special is the number of independent designers who list their patterns with QPM (including me!). So I might visit QPM to find a pattern from someone in particular but end up being introduced to names and designs that are new to me.

Love Boldly Quilt-Along Sponsors

I think giveaways add an extra dose of fun to quilt-alongs. I approached each of these sites about sponsoring my upcoming Love Boldly Quilt-Along with a prize, and Im happy to say that they are all on board! 

There will be giveaways on Instagram throughout the quilt-along. Ill post a prompt each week to my Instagram feed with a specific hashtag. To be eligible for that weeks prize, you need to be sewing the Love Boldly pattern along with us and post an in-progress shot to your Instagram feed using the same hashtag. 

Please note: You don’t need to keep up with the schedule to win—this is supposed to be fun, so sew at a pace that works for you. However, your account has to be public during the quilt-along to be eligible for prizes.

If you want to sign up for the QAL, we start cutting and sewing on May 3. Sign up today!

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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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, April 23, 2021

How to Assemble a Plaid-ish Pull / Beauties Pageant 126

Last spring, I participated in a big scrap overhaul hosted by FeelGood Fibers. I decided it would be easier to organize a smaller, less-daunting pile of fabric, so I started the process by pulling bits for a project or two.

One of those projects was Plaid-ish, a free pattern from Erica Jackman (Kitchen Table Quilting) that has been made by thousands of quilters. I highly recommend this pattern. Because Plaid-ish uses no background fabric, its a super-duper scrap buster!

I like to rein in my scrap quilts with a concrete palette, and I started my Plaid-ish pull with orphan charm and layer-cake squares in shades of salmon, periwinkle, and grassy green. (Kate Spain fans may notice bits of Canyon and Aria in the picture below; those prints set the stage here.) Then I found those same colors in different values. I added aquas but not teals, navies and grays but not blacks. 

Overall, the quilt is built around low, medium, and high values. Each of my palette colors appear in at least two of those categories. I also made sure everything was on the modern end of the spectrum; none of my more vintage-like scraps, such as those from Denyse Schmidt, made it into the pull.

I cant tell you how much fun this process was for me. I loved discovering bits in my bags and bags of scraps to include in this pull, and when I exhausted the possibilities in my scrap bin, I moved on to my stash. A few fat quarters that were hard to use in other projects worked well here. I like when some prints appear throughout a scrap quilt—I think it adds unity to the project—so those fat quarters served an important purpose.

Im looking forward to quilting this beauty. Shes low on the priority list, though, so Im not sure when that will happen. Youll be the first to know when it does, though!

After I assembled this fabric pull, I did overhaul my scrap storage entirely. I cut a lot of pieces into 2.5-inch squares for future scrap quilts. Believe it or not, what remained fit nicely and neatly in one drawer! The time and effort that I devoted to this project were well spent. (However, I could have done without the mild case of tendonitis I got from using my rotary blade so much. Ha!)

If youve made a Plaid-ish quilt, Id love to see it. Please upload it to this weeks linky along with any recent finishes. Thanks! And have a great weekend, everyone!

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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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, April 16, 2021

A Patriotic Pillow / Beauties Pageant 125

I love when the online quilting community rallies for a good cause. Its something that seems to come naturally to us as quilters. So when Karen Dorey was diagnosed with breast cancer, I wasnt surprised to learn that her friends Mia and Melanie were planning an auction on Instagram to support their friend and defray the cost of her medical care.

The auction will take place in two weeks, on April 30 and May 1, at a dedicated Instagram feed: @gopinkforkaren. Our hosts expect to post auction items (with the comments disabled) in the near future, so follow the auction feed now to see the drool-worthy creations and quilting supplies (read: fabric!) that will be available for bids at the end of the month.

My contribution to this effort is my recently finished patriotic pillow, pictured at the top of the post. This is the bonus block design that comes with my Love Boldly pattern. I like how it came out so much that for the upcoming quilt-along (read all the details here), I am making a throw-size quilt out of nine of these flag blocks.

Im working ahead of schedule, sewing blocks, taking pictures, and writing copy for the newsletter that accompanies the quilt-along. Below is my first block, and its such a beauty. At first I thought I would have to buy new fabric for this endeavor, but I realized that the blues and reds in Basic Grey’s Biscuits and Gravy collection, which was conveniently living in my stash, would work well. Basic Grey is one of my favorite design houses, and Biscuits and Gravy makes for a dreamy American flag palette. Love!

Ive mentioned before that this block entails a clever (if I do say so myself!) sew-cut-resew technique. See what I mean in this Instagram reel. : )

One of my pattern testers, Mary, tried out this bonus design, too, and I had to include it here. Its so smart. If only the navy background would camouflage Golden Retriever hair, I would use it myself!

 
I have been somewhat obsessed with American flag quilts, so the fact that I could take my Love Boldly block and transform it into an American flag was a nice surprise. (It look me well over a year after initially designing the striped-heart block to look at it and see a flag!) I have a fledgling Pinterest board on flag quilts. If you have suggestions on what I should add to it, Im all ears! And if you have a flag finish of your own in the archives, post it to this week’s Beauties Pageant. Yes, please!

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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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, April 9, 2021

A Fully Revealed Finish / Beauties Pageant 124

Last weeks almost-finish is this weeks fully quilted, bound, and ready-to-be-used finish. Im feeling a little punchy at the moment, which is likely why I’ve settled on the name No Negativity for this project. : )

As I mentioned last week, the fabric collection here determined the design. Judy, who blogs occasionally at Sew Some Sunshine, knew that Bonnie Christine’s Sweet As Honey collection was a favorite of mine and gifted me a sizable bundle of it. I supplemented with an additional purchase or two and then let the whole lot of it sit for years. I didnt want to cut Bonnie’s designs into tiny pieces that would prevent people from appreciating the fabric, and no pattern seemed to fit the bill.

I finally gave in and drafted this design with oversize plus signs myself. The chubbier pluses finish at 16 inches, so Im not exaggerating on the scale. (The quilt overall is approximately 70 inches square.)

I used only Art Gallery Fabrics in this project, complementing the front with a pieced back in a lighter shade of gray and scraps. And I quilted it with diagonal lines every 1.5 inches. Other quilting plans I came up with seemed too fussy for this minimalist project.

I took some closeups to give you a good look at the Bonnie Christine prints. The afternoon sun paints them cooler than they are in person (the first two pics are more accurate), but you can get a better idea of just how beautiful these fabrics are and why I wouldnt want to chop them into unrecognizable pieces!


It was the aqua floral that made me fall hard for this line, but those beehives are my favorite now ...


Love Boldly Quilt-Along

Registration for the Love Boldly Quilt-Along is still open. Join me and two dozen of my online quilty friends sew a baby, small throw, or large throw quilt. A newsletter discussing fabric choices (including a discussion about substrates, prints that work well vs. those that don’t, etc.) drops next week. Cutting and sewing starts May 3! Click here for more information.


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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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, April 2, 2021

Pretty Sneak Peeks / Beauties Pageant 123

A plus-sign block in yellow beehive fabric

I have had such a great productive week, friends. Who painted the living room, picked up new furniture for the family room, revised her younger sons IEP, and accomplished a slew of other chores?! This girl, thats who.

As Wednesday was coming to a close, I was getting rather pleased with myself—perhaps too pleased because my plans to quilt my way through the rest of the week quickly unraveled, and now its Friday and my whole family is at home. (I love my family, but I get more accomplished when at least one kid is attending school in person!)

All of this is to say that I dont have the finish I was expecting, so I present my near-finish, all quilted and ready for binding. Here are some sneak peeks ...

A plus-sign block in a pale blue floral print

A patchwork of different bee-themed fabrics

My objective with this project was to use as much of my Sweet As Honey fabric, an older line from Bonnie Christine, as I could in a quilt that lets the prints shine. With oversize plus signs and a pieced back, I achieved my goals. Stay tuned for a full reveal in the coming weeks!

I’m happy to celebrate your finishes today. Please add them to the Beauties Pageant linky, below.

And for those of you who havent heard, Im hosting a free quilt-along, starting in May. Click here for all the details!


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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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Friday, March 26, 2021

Lella Boutique's Hot Cross Buns Quilt / Beauties Pageant 122

A quilt swirl in blues, grays, oranges, and whites.

What I am about to say will surprise those of you who are longtime readers, so prepare yourselves ... Im starting to enjoy free-motion quilting.

Let me begin this story by introducing to you to Lella Boutiques Hot Cross Buns quilt. I really like the pattern—its smart and simple, and I wish I had designed it! I sewed it here mostly in blues and grays from Zen Chics True Blue collection, supplemented with some coordinating half-yards and fat quarters from stash. The bolder orange, by Rae Ritchie for Dear Stella, gives this finish a nice dose of personality.

A full flat shot of a plus-sign quilt in modern fabrics

I had planned on straight-line quilting Hot Cross Buns. Multiple attempts to do so failed rather miserably, though. I blame my not-so-effective basting job (I spray-basted, which is typical for me) and the fact that I pressed my seams to the side (I almost always press open). In any event, I ripped out a lot of quilting—like enough to occupy me for a feature-length movie and an old episode or two of Greys Anatomy. It was a mess.

In fact, it was such a mess that I was giddy with delight when I decided to stipple my way to this project’s merciful end. The free-motion quilting really worked well. I tend to think of stippling as working best with busy prints. (Remember my Scrappy Granny Square Quilt? It was the perfect venue for stippling.) The thick solid border on this quilt, however, looks just fine with an all-over stipple. 

Id say my FMQ job was a solid B. A picture of the back (see below), however, is more forgiving, making my work look more like an A. Hey, I’ll take that!

A flat picture of a quilt back made of five long swaths of fabric

I was so pleased with this outcome that I am plotting a FMQ treatment for another quilt top that’s ready to be basted. I want to graduate from stippling, though. Do you have any suggestions? I’m looking for something with curves, nothing too angular. (Yvonne, Anja, Roseanne ... You’re my FMQ heroes! I want to hear from you!)

Before I sign off, I wanted to give everyone the heads-up that the Love Boldly Quilt-Along is on! The free registration is open now. You can read the full details here

Follow Me On ...


 
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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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter