Friday, January 27, 2023

Those Are Some Precise Points / Beauties Pageant 203

**If you’re looking for the Villa Rosa blog hop, click here!**

Winter illnesses have brought most activity at From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters to a grinding halt. Soccer practice, dentist appointments, vacuuming up evidence of two Golden Retrievers ... it has all been scrapped for what I affectionately call “survival mode.” And when the Cains are in survival mode, my priorities are modest: Keep everyone fed, recently bathed, and in clean clothes. I’m happy to report that I met those goals!

And I alsomiracle of miraclesmanaged to finish piecing my first Set to Spin quilt top! Now granted, I had fabric on hand for a larger quilt, but in a moment of clarity, I had mercy on myself and called it quits at the small throw size (i.e., 48" x 60"). 

Isn’t she lovely? The palette is so prettythe minty green alone makes me smileand I am in love with the precision I achieved with the points ...

I designed Set to Spin as a paper-piecing pattern, and it really was the right decision. (The thought of piecing it with templates makes me want to curl up in fetal position!) I hear quilters complain that paper piecing can be time consuming, that it produces too much waste, and that removing the paper is a hassle. It’s true: Sewing Set to Spin isn’t a quick-to-sew Pretty in Pluses or easy-peasy Irish Twist. But I would never have been able to achieve precise points without paper piecing. 

I’m working on a video tutorial for Set to Spin, to help those quilters who could use more detail on the paper-piecing process. Stay tuned for more information on that. My best tip for getting great points with paper piecing is too good not to share now, though. Read through it here.

If you missed last week’s post about my Nantucket quilt (pictured above) the Villa Rosa Fast and Fun Blog Hop, check it out here. There are a bunch of blogs participating in the hop, and it’s been a blast to see what everyone has created from the same collection of Villa Rosa pattern cards. Plus, there are a ton of prizes, and entries are open through January 29, 2023. : )

Follow Me On ...  

* * *

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, January 20, 2023

Villa Rosa Designs Fast and Fun Blog Hop / Beauties Pageant 202

Hello, and welcome to From Bolt to Beauty! Today is my stop on the first-ever Villa Rosa Designs Fast and Fun Blog Hop, a week-long event that celebrates five special patterns from Villa Rosa. Join in the hop to see what other quilt bloggers and I have created from the collection, and enter giveaways at each stop.

About Villa Rosa Designs

My friends in the New Hampshire Modern Quilt Guild introduced me to Villa Rosa. A bunch of them sewed the Pointless design and were telling me how simple and clever the construction was. I took a peek at the pattern and saw what they meant: The instructions were so concise that they fit on one side of a postcard. I was hooked!

The Blog Hop Collection

The blog hop features a well-rounded collection of five different patterns: Snow Goose, Nantucket, Baby Zip Tease, Hillside Charm, and S’Witched. Snow Goose is a great pattern to use up leftover jelly roll strips. Nantucket busts through fat quarters. Baby Zip Tease and Hillside Charm both use a charm pack (Hillside Charm also features a panel). And S’Witched takes advantage of 10-inch squares. 

If you have any of those precuts lingering in your stash, you could put them to good use in one of these patterns ... Plus, the entire collection is specially priced at $8.95 right now!

My Nantucket Quilt

For my project, I took a fat quarter bundle of the Carnaby Collection (by Liberty Fabrics for Riley Blake) and made the Nantucket design. 

One of the brilliant things about this pattern is that it creates little waste. I pulled 10 fat quarters from my bundle and had a few slim trimmings leftover.

I was so fixated on busting through my stash that I ignored my instinct to add in a few solids. The result was busier than I would have liked, so I included a solid border and bound the quilt with the same deep shade of blue. The addition of the border alleviates some of the problem, but I will do things differently next time (oh yes, Nantucket, there will be a next time for us!).

I have a few other thoughts on this project, but I’ll save that for next week. Let’s get back to the blog hop and giveaways ...

Other Stops on the Hop

01/19/23 Thursday
Villa Rosa Quilts (Blog Hop Kick-Off)

01/20/23 Friday
From Bolt to BeautyYou’re here!
Kathleen McMusing
Jaftex Companies

01/21/23 Saturday
Pieceful Thoughts
Little Penguin Quilts

01/22/23 Sunday 
Quilt with a View

01/23/23 Monday
Cheryl’s Teapots 2 Quilting
Devoted Quilter
Quilts of Valor Foundation

01/24/23 Tuesday
Needle and Foot
Am I Shouting Yet?
Electric Quilt

01/25/23 Wednesday
The Crafty Quilter
Jo’s Country Junction
Keepsake Quilting
Stitchin At Home

01/26/23 Thursday
Villa Rosa Quilts (Blog Hop Wrap-Up)


Villa Rosa Designs is giving away the complete blog hop collection of postcard patterns to one From Bolt to Beauty reader. You have two opportunities to enter: Enter this week’s Beauties Pageant and/or leave a comment (perhaps which Villa Rosa pattern you’d like to make?).

Three randomly selected entries will be entered to win the Sponsored Individual Prizes, and two randomly selected entrants will be entered to win the Grand Prize Box drawing.

These giveaways are open internationally. Winners outside the United States will receive a digital collection of the blog hop patterns. Entries close on Sunday, January 29, at 11:59 p.m. (GMT-5:00). Winners will be notified and prizes will be shipped in February. 

Please note: If you are commenting anonymously or are a no-reply blogger (or aren’t sure whether you’re a no-reply blogger), please leave your email address in the comment or send it to me directly at frombolttobeauty [at] gmail [dot] com.

There are a ton of prizes. Head to the Villa Rosa blog to learn more!

Follow Me On ...  

* * *

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, January 13, 2023

A Little Paper-Piecing Magic / Beauties Pageant 201

I’ve had foundation paper piecing on my mind recently. I know many quilters appreciate the intricate blocks they can sew with the technique, and I’ve made projects like that (see my giraffe quilt here and my Christmas postcard here). More often than not, however, I rely on paper piecing to create blocks without using templates or specialty rulers. And because I paper piece with inexpensive newsprint, I can get great results without spending a lot of money.

All of this brings me to my latest pattern in process: Set to Spin. She’s a modern beauty all dolled up in solids, but I’m already imagining her in a collection of scrappy prints. Perhaps even some chunky large-stitch quilting? Yes, please!

Are you pro paper piecing, or do you avoid it? (Because if you’d rather not tackle a paper piecing project, I’ll take that as a challenge to change your mind!)

Follow Me On ...  

* * *

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, January 6, 2023

10 Ways to Quilt on a Budget / Beauties Pageant 200

Hello and happy new year! (And happy 200th Brag About Your Beauties Pageant!) Since many of us take the start of the calendar year as a way to reflect and recalibrate, I thought a post about spending mindfully on quilting supplies was appropriate.

Truth be told, I’m fiscally conservative in generalit’s just my personality. Since I started publishing patterns, however, my hobby has become self-sufficient. That doesn’t mean that I buy quilting supplies with abandon. Too much of a good thing can be overwhelming and undermine my creativity. (If that last point resonates with you, check out this illustration and this blog post from FeelGood Fibers.)

If you resolve to get smarter about your quilty purchases, too, consider these points ...


1. Start with your stash. 

When there’s a new project on the horizon, I shop my stash first. Too often I am tempted to order a new blender or buy a new background fabric only to discover that I already own a perfectly lovely substitute.

At times I’ve used a long-stashed cut of fabric as the inspiration for an entire project. (The best example of this is my Me-Wow! quilt; I started with the binding fabric and built the palette from there.) It may seem like a time-intensive way to use up yardage, but it can prove to be a fun exercise in creatively using what you’ve got.

2. Buy what you need for the project at hand. 

Buying fabrics because you like them or because you’re afraid you won’t be able to find them in the future is a sure-fire way to amass a lot of fabric quickly. I try to buy just the material needed for the next project or two. (I know, it’s easier said than done.) After all, there will always be another beautiful, new fabric collection, and I can often find out-of-production lines on the secondary market after they disappear from quilt shops (and sometimes at better prices than they originally sold for).

To stick to this resolution, remove unnecessary temptations. That could mean unsubscribing to newsletters or steering clear of certain hashtags on Instagram (I, for one, have fallen into the rabbit hole called #TheGreatFabricDestash many times). You can always resubscribe in the future.

3. Sew with solids.

Do you know what’s less expensive than the latest and greatest fabric collection? Solids. I find I can save up to $4 or $5 per yard when I sew with solids instead of printed quilting cottons. 

4. Buy smaller cuts.

Don’t buy a half-yard when a fat quarter will do the job. Say you want to sew a project with a scrappy low-volume background. Quarter yards (fat or skinny) will help you achieve that scrappy look without breaking the bank and without creating the scraps that half-yards would.

The challenge here is often finding a good source of quarter yards. I always start with my local quilt shop, because online fabric retailers usually have a minimum cutting size, but there are some online options for fat quarters. One of my favorites is Lark Cottons, which offers its entire stock as fats.

5. Buy local.

The benefit of buying in person is that I make smarter purchases, buying fabrics that are more likely to coordinate with the yardage I already have. Too often I find myself making an online purchase only to realize the fabrics aren’t quite right once I have them in hand. (And so the stash grows!)

6. Buy secondhand or trade with friends.

I’ve found great deals on older fabric lines on Instagram or FeelGood Fibers. I’ve also arranged a trade with friends. One quilty friend gave me unbridled access to her bin of 2.5-inch scraps, and I left her with a cut of fabric from my stash that I knew she would use faster than I could. It was a win-win!

7. Sell what you don’t use.

I’ve had good success selling fabricincluding bundles, yardage, and scrapson both Instagram and FeelGood Fibers. (Read my advice about listing on FeelGood Fibers here.) I use Instagram when I know something will sell quickly. FeelGood Fibers, on the other hand, is great because listings are searchable.


8. Quilt some of your own projects.

I had made a few dozen quilts before I started sending projects out for longarming services, so I’m adept at quilting my own projects with a walking foot. I’ve even ventured into free-motion quilting with good success. If quilting is new to you, start with small projects and grow from there.

I quilt all of the baby quilts I make and anything that would benefit from my expertise in straight-line quilting. Projects bigger than a 72-inch square by default go to a longarmer, as do more angular patterns that would benefit from swirly quilting designs.

9. Buy batting in bulk and use up the scraps.

I buy batting by the bolt. My top choice is the Warm Company’s Warm & White. I think it’s good value for my money, and the white (as opposed to, say, Warm & Natural) works well with my usual white or cream background fabrics.

I also save my scraps and use fusible webbing to cobble them together to make bigger, more usable pieces.


10. Avoid buying unnecessary notions.

I don’t invest in trendy notions. Anything that I’d use on a single project is not worth the cost. 

Instead of buying specialty rulers, I make sure my tried-and-true square and rectangular ones are in good working order and replace them as needed. And instead of buying expensive paper for foundation paper piecing, I buy a ream of 8.5-inch by 11-inch newsprint. I buy inexpensive irons at Target and store WIPs on coat hangers, in plastic Ziploc bags, or in plastic bins (all of which I use over and over again).

I’m sure you have your own tricks to make smart purchases. Share your tips in the comments below!

Follow Me On ...  

* * *

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