Little House on the Prairie Sew Along: Eagle Feather

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Lily with Eagle Feather

Lily and I completed block 14 in the Little House on the Prairie Sew Along today.  This is the last block for The Long Winter.  At the beginning of the book, an Indian walked in the store in town where the men were congregating and warned them of a severe winter that would last 7 long months.  The Indian wore a single Eagle feather.  As Lily said, it’s a tiny part of the story but so important!

Our block is inspired by Anna Maria Horner’s beautiful feathers.

eagle feather

I want to answer a few sewalong questions today.  Some people have asked about the templates and how to use them.  I want to make the blocks in this sewalong work for children and beginning sewists.  Often, with a block like this one, I would choose to paper piece.  But paper piecing scares away beginners and I think that the concept of sewing a mirror image and through the paper is a big foreign for children.  So, for blocks that cannot be easily pieced with cutting instructions alone (which do always include your seam allowance, fyi–that was another question I received), I thought that templates might work.  They can be assembled in the normal manner, right sides together, 1/4″ seam, etc. but allow me to design some blocks that I couldn’t otherwise.

Sometimes, the templates have to be taped together.  That’s the case this time.  The taping together can often be the most annoying part-just think of it as a puzzle!  Cut with your template facing up on the right side of your fabric.  Rely on the diagram that prints with the template to figure out which piece is which.

Today I am going to give you the option of paper piecing since I know some more advanced quilters are also joining in.  So, download whichever you prefer:

Eagle Feather Templates

Eagle Feather Paper Piecing Pattern

We used the templates and they were ok but I had a hard time getting the top corner piece right so we just stitched on a larger piece and trimmed it down, squaring up the block while we were at it.

I didn’t include instructions with either because I think that as long as you lay things out you can figure out the sewing order.  If you need more help though, just email.

Welcoming Massdrop

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I’m happy to welcome Massdrop as a new sponsor for During Quiet Time.  I wrote a post about Massdrop before, when I reviewed the Oliso iron for them. You can find it here.
Basically, Massdrop works like this.  People can suggest items that they would like to buy and then vote on suggested items. If there is enough interest, the buyer for Massdrop negotiates with the company for a discount based on selling a certain number of items. Then the item is listed on Massdrop where the bulk discount is passed on to the consumer. The more people who buy, the lower the price.
I have joined in on two group buys so far. In one case, I bought Pat Bravo’s collection of Aurifil thread at a great savings. Most recently, I purchased my favorite Superior needles in size 80 and 90. I have been oh so tempted by other items too.  Right now there is a Far Far Away fabric bundle available and a group of quilting patterns by Elizabeth Hartman. Check them out here.Sarah Rosenberg was recently hired as Massdrop’s Quilting and Crafting “buyer.” She is also a quilter and interested in building up a quilting community on Massdrop. She’d like to encourage you to create and vote on polls so that the items she pursues are those that you really want. She is available to answer questions or respond to feedback on the site and is also the person behind “Massdrop” on Instagram. Make sure to follow her there!

Welcome Massdrop!

Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar, 1950-2000

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The last few evenings, I have been enjoying an advance copy of Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar, 1950-2000 by Roderick Kiracofe.

This book is full of beautiful, full page, color images of quilts that haven’t been published as a group like this before. These quilts are a departure from expected traditional block patterns and have what is described as a “freer, more casual, soulful yet bold aesthetic that departs from (and returns to) a multitude of norms and standards.” I think many readers will recognize in these quilts many of the design principals, improvisation, and tendency to “break the rules” found in today’s modern quilting movement. The quilts will be inspirational and liberating, I think.

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But what I liked most, were the discussions of how to talk about quilts. As most of you know, I studied Art History and worked in museums before I stayed home with my children. I have always questioned the constant need to compare contemporary quilts to paintings in order to fit them into the established canon of Western art history. It doesn’t always quite work for me. I particularly enjoyed Allison Smith’s essay, “Quilts are Quilts” where Smith questions the validity of this approach. If quilts are comparable to fine art, why then are they considered inferior in the hierarchy of art and less valuable monetarily? How are we to deal with the artist genius concept and the quilter? She discusses the differences in construction and points out that quilts are more closely aligned with collage. She then talks about the fact that quilts have two sides, and suggests a comparison to flags where quilts are similarly in motion. She states that, perhaps, only in motion can we completely understand quilts in their human and social context.  I agree with her most basic point, that quilts need to be discussed as quilts.

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It’s food for thought. I think it is true that quilts can’t and shouldn’t be continually compared to paintings. They have a different history. Their construction is different. The skills needed to create them are different. The materials are different. But there are so many kinds of quilts aren’t there? Clearly, there are quilts that are made as the creator’s artistic statement. He/she has chosen as her canvas a quilt and the potential for it to be used hasn’t really factored into the equation. Such quilts tend to be called art quilts—those made intentionally to express an aesthetic concern, and have no intended use as a bed covering. But have quilters done themselves a disservice by defining quilts that are not used as “art quilts”. Does that automatically bring down the perceived value of quilts that could conceivably be used? Does it label the others as “not art”? I know I often make quilts simply as an artistic statement and not because I need a quilt. How many quilters today really “need” another quilt? Clearly, it’s a fluid discussion as well because it changes over time, with economics, with material supply, etc.

I also appreciated Janneken Smucker’s essay where she discusses the myth of the scrap bag and how the myth helped shape a later reality.  It was a good read.

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A number of the essays mention that the makers of the quilts are often anonymous which leads to complications not as prevalent in fine art but common in everyday/useful items. It should serve as a reminder to us to label those quilts! I know I am terrible about that myself but need to start doing it.

When I visited the Museum of Fine Art Boston’s show Quilts and Color, I remember thinking how fascinating it was to see what types of quilts Pilgrim and Roy had decided to collect. For them, color value and condition were both of supreme importance. Kiracofe’s collection is so vastly different but yet equally cohesive. His quilts are those that “break the rules.” The quilts don’t follow traditional gridwork with precision. They show the quilter’s hand more than most quilt collections I have seen. I really enjoy seeing how people put together their own collections and like to imagine what kind of collection of quilts I might put together.

Anyway, this is a fabulous book that I am sure will be popular among modern quilters.  I anticipate rereading it at a later date.

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Little House on the Prairie Sew Along: Winter Window

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Lily with Winter Window block

 

Lily and I are working hard on finishing her two quilt blocks for The Long Winter before school starts next week. We had hoped to make all the blocks this summer but obviously, that isn’t going to happen!  She has three more books to read.  We are hoping she can read one a month and finish two blocks a month for the next three months and then I can help her sash and quilt it in December and over Christmas vacation.  We are setting this goal because our librarian asked to have her quilt on display at the library in January if she can have it done in time.  That’s pretty exciting for her so we are going to try to make it!

In The Long Winter, the Ingalls family suffers through 7 months of unimaginable winter weather with blizzard after blizzard with only a day or two of bitter cold sunshine in-between.  The trains stop running so they are out of coal and food.  They see no one but their own family and Laura often comments about how lonely it is and that she feels like they are all alone in the world.  At first, Lily and I thought of making a snowflake.  It seemed an obvious choice but designing an easy snowflake pattern is pretty tricky.  Then it came to me, as we were reading, we could make a window with snow.  Laura often runs to the window to look for an approaching storm if Pa is out getting hay.  During storms, she will go to the window and comment that she can see nothing but whirling snow, no buildings, no people, no light.  So we made the wooden walls of their building in town with a whirling snowstorm outside.

I read The Long Winter aloud to the whole family.  I started reading it on the car ride home from our vacation and a few hours into it, everyone was hooked.  So we finished this book by reading a few chapters after dinner each night. Lily has determined that she is going to read the next book all by herself, Little Town on the Prairie.  In the meantime, we have one more Long Winter block to design and sew.

Here are the cutting instructions for this block:

Winter Window

I hope you are all enjoying the Sew Along. I love seeing the pictures that pop up on IG with the hashtag #littlehousealong.  I have heard that a few of you are set to start sewing along this fall. Lily and I are excited to see  your blocks!

 

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along: Lone Star in the Night Sky

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Lone Star in the Night Sky

Can you believe that we are up to block 12 in the Little House Sew Along? This is the final block to correspond to By the Shores of Silver Lake. In one of the passages, Laura talks about a star in the vast night sky that is brighter than all the rest. Since the theme of endless prairie skies is repeated in several of the books, we decided it was time to make a star block.

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Here are the cutting instructions. When we cut the squares for the HSTs, we went with 3 1/2″ squares which are really oversized but I find that they are more forgiving. Lily tends to turn outward or inward at the end of seams sometimes so it avoids any problem there. We can just trim it down in the most precise spot. That might help the other beginning sewists who are sewing along with us too.

Speaking of which, please send me an email to amybfriend at gmail dot com if you have pictures of your blocks or a single block that you would like me to share on my blog. Maybe I could do a little round up!

Lone Star in Night Sky

I let Lily use my treasured piece of Lizzy House’s Constellations for this block because it seemed too perfect not to.

If you would like to make another block for this book, or want to substitute for one of the designs, there is a traditional block called the Lady of the Lake block that works so nicely with the title of this book too.  Just Google it and you will find directions.  There are a lot of HSTs involved for a beginner though which is why we settled on this block instead.

We are nearly done reading The Long Winter and hope to make the two blocks for that book soon, ideally before school starts up again.

Fabric Fuse

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ThermOWeb is launching a new product called Fabric Fuse. It is a washable, permanent quick bond liquid adhesive that dries clear and remains flexible. You can use it on fabric or embellishments. It’s washable 48 hours later!  It’s no sew, no ironing. You can buy it here.

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Foxy

Foxy by Amy Friend

I wanted to share this Foxy zip bag!  I made it a few months ago for the Zakka issue of Fat Quarterly magazine which you can now purchase here.   The complete pattern with templates is provided in the ezine.   I made an adorable fox with it’s tail wrapped around the other side.  It was inspired by a ring I saw online where a dog wraps around your finger so you see the head and the tail on the front.

Foxy by Amy Friend

The fox is appliqued with little button eyes.  I added some free motion quilting stitching to the left side that reads “foxy” just for fun.

Foxy by Amy Friend

It was the perfect chance to use the cute orange strawberries for the lining with a little lace for the pull.  My zipper is from Zipit!

I hope you have as much fun making one as I did!

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Summer Sales

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Sorry to be an enabler but I have a couple of sales to share.  Sew Fresh is having a major sale right now for 30% off of everything.  I might have just placed an order for all the fabric needed for a new quilt at a steal. This sale ends today though so hurry!

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And starting today is a sale at The Fat Quarter Shop.  All Riley Blake Fabrics are 20% off!

Happy shopping!

Diamond Jewels Kit Available

Oakshott Colourshott Diamond Runner by Amy FriendI shared this Oakshott Colourshott runner that I designed and called Diamond Jewels a few months back.  I mentioned that a pattern would be coming soon and I am sorry for the delay.  The pattern is now available in not only runner size but also in 3 quilt sizes along with a kit containing the Oakshott necessary to sew it.  You can read all about it on the Oakshott blog, Shotthrough and buy the kits in their shop here.

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Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Wild Geese Flying into the Sunset

 

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Wild Geese Flying into the Sunset

We have moved on to By the Shores of Silver Lake and this is block 11 in our Little House on the Prairie Sew Along.  Apparently the smaller type wasn’t such a big deal because Lily is flying through this book.  Mary loses her eyesight in this book due to scarlet fever.  Laura describes things to her and Mary says that her words paint beautiful pictures.  Laura describes a few sunsets and talks about wild geese.  I told Lily that there is a type of triangle called Flying Geese in quilting and maybe we could use them to make a sunset block.  She liked the idea and this is what I came up with.

Wild Geese Flying into the Sunset

We chose the fabrics together to try to achieve good gradations in color.  We looked for prints that had bits of the color that we were moving toward or away from to help blend them together.  I think it makes for a beautiful block.  The geese are a bit challenging. Lily lost the tip of one but I don’t think that’s bad at all for a beginner!

You can download the free pattern here. Please note that I am providing all these patterns for free for personal use only. Please do not use them to profit from my work. Thank you for your understanding.

 

Tea with Lemon

Tea with Lemon by Amy Friend

I made this block for Kylie in my Cocorico Bee. This is our second round of the bee. In the first round, she requested block with a “Best of British” theme. I sent her this block:

Wellie Boot by Amy Friend

(You will find the pattern in my shops labeled “Garden Boot.”)

This time, she wanted to add to the blocks she had received with teapots, teacups and all things tea related. I decided to make a tea cup but wanted to add a little something to it. I search “tea with lemon” and found that it is often served on the edge of a cup. I thought it looked so attractive so I decided to try to design my block around that idea. I wanted to make the lemon scrappy because it’s more fun that way. Since that required a lot of piecing, I kept the cup and saucer themselves simple, with a more modern line. I chose fabrics from the Kissing Booth line by Basic Grey because the floral reminded me a bit of Chintz ware. To do justice to the handle, I felt it needed to be curved. I drew a curved template to create the handle unit. It’s a tight curve but doable with clipping and pins!

Tea with Lemon by Amy Friend

If you would like to try the pattern, it is available for instant download in my Craftsy and Etsy shops.

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Melon Ice Pattern Available

Melon Ice Quilt Pattern by Amy Friend

I have been tying up some loose ends this week.  I’ve finally put my Melon Ice Quilt Pattern in my Etsy and Craftsy shops.  This pattern was originally published in American Quilter magazine but you can now purchase it as an instant download as well. I know that helps those of you overseas!  This pattern assumes knowledge of paper piecing but is a great pattern for those new to paper piecing. It isn’t too complicated and, most importantly, you don’t need to match too many seams/points. I specifically designed it that way.  I hope you enjoy it!

Many of the seam rippers I listed this afternoon flew off the shelves but there are still 4 beauties left if you are interested!

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Sharing Info about The Sewing Party

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Join “The Sewing Party” for the First Online-All-Day DIY Event in History!

On Nov. 8, thousands will gather to participate in a fun-filled day of sewing and crafting classes;

Sponsors are Burda Style, Etsy, HUSQVARNA VIKING®, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, PFAFF® and SINGER®

La Vergne, Tenn. — On Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, thousands of DIY-ers from across the nation will come together to participate in “The Sewing Party” – the first ever online-all-day sewing and crafting event in the US. Participants will enjoy a fun-filled day of immersing themselves in more than 30 interactive, fun and innovative classes taught online by leading bloggers, designers and educational experts.

“The Sewing Party” is about connecting, crafting and creating. Sponsored by Burda Style, Etsy, HUSQVARNA VIKING®, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, PFAFF® and SINGER®, classes will be available on the day of the event and for an additional 90 days; and will feature topics for every creative passion, such as home décor, fashion sewing, quilting, upcycling, and costume design, among others. Registration is $40 for the entire experience.

“We want to engage the next generation of sewers and crafters where they live, and that’s online,” says Katrina Helmkamp, CEO of SVP Worldwide, which spearheaded “The Sewing Party” and is the world’s largest consumer sewing machine company – source of the SINGER®, HUSQVARNA VIKING® and PFAFF® sewing machine brands.

In recent years, the Do It Yourself (DIY) and Sew It Yourself (SIY) movements have not only taken the creative world by storm, but dramatically widened its size and scope – increasing the value and appeal of handmade crafts, customized projects and personal creativity as it attracts a new generation of sewers and crafters to the wonderful world of self-expression.

At “The Sewing Party,” you can pick and choose the classes that are right for you. Create “Throw Pillows with Pizzazz,” refresh your skills with “Sewing Machine Basics,” make a “Hand-Dyed Baby Rattle,” craft the perfect “Strips and Bricks Quilt,” learn “Bra Making with Madalynne,” or participate in all of the more than 30 classes for a full 90 days after the event.

One of the headline sponsors, Etsy, shared its strategy for and excitement about joining: “Etsy is a place for makers and creators to build independent businesses on their own terms, and we encourage aspiring creative entrepreneurs to explore our global marketplace,” said Kimm Alfonso, Manager of Seller Development at Etsy. “‘The Sewing Party’ celebrates all things DIY, and we’re joining to share tips for starting a shop, as well as inspiring stories of artisans and crafters who are making money selling their goods to shoppers from around the world.”

For just $40, participants can attend classes; chat with participants from across the country; interact with top bloggers and educational experts who are teaching; and explore the latest crafting and sewing tips, techniques and products in the virtual marketplace. Space is limited and likely to fill up fast. To see a full schedule of classes, read teacher biographies and register, visit www.thesewingparty.com.

Seam Rippers Available

Seam rippers

My husband has finished another batch of his popular, hand turned, acrylic handled, seam rippers!  There are four necklace versions available today and 10 hand held.  I am going to be listing them in my Etsy shop over the next couple of hours if you are interested!

 

 

Kite Tails Quilt Pattern

Kite Tails Quilt Pattern by Amy Friend

If you are a Modern Quilt Guild member, you received a newsletter today with a link to the free pattern of the month for August which is this, my Kite Tails Quilt Pattern!  If you are not a member, you may now purchase the pattern in my Etsy shop or Craftsy shop.

Kite Tails is a paper pieced pattern that repeats one large block.  Although this is a single block quilt, the blocks are rectangular and ocassionally inverted.  The end result has an irregular/random appearance.  The negative space plays an important role in helping to create a dynamic design.

The finished quilt measures 60″ x 72.”

Kite Tails by Amy Friend

Cotton and Steel generously supplied me with the fabric for this quilt top.  I chose some prints from each of the designer’s lines.  It was fun mixing and matching their prints and I love the touches of metallic!

Kite Tails by Amy Friend

I used Warm and White batting and some straight line quilting in x’s that echo the piecing but are placed randomly throughout the columns of pieced “kite tails.”

Kite Tails by Amy Friend

These are just gratuitous quilt shots but I really love this one.

Kite Tails by Amy Friend
And this one!

Kite Tails by Amy Friend

 

Oh, and this shot shows a bit of the backing which is one of my favorite parts of the quilt.  I used Melody Miller’s Ruby Star Polka Dot 2013 for Kokka on an 85/15 cotton linen for the backing. It’s wide so I only needed to add a strip a couple inches of a solid down one edge.  I found it still available at Sew Me A Song. Melody’s older line has bits of metallic and the arrows in common with her new collection for Cotton and Steel so it is a fun way to join the old and new together in this quilt.

This quilt could be made in so many fabric combinations. I look forward to seeing what you do with it.

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Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Wheat

Lily Sewing

 

Lily has finished the 4th book in the Little House series and this is our last block to go along with that book, block 10 of the sew along.  The 4th book, On the Banks of Plum Creek, tells about the life of the Ingalls family after they move to Plum Creek.  They buy land with a growing wheat crop.  Their financial future is really tied to the land and that crop and sadly, a cloud of grasshoppers come and eat everything in sight.  We thought about making a grasshopper block but I couldn’t figure out how to do that simply enough and then I got an idea for a simple wheat block so we went with it!

wheat block with measurements

 

This 14″ finished block is made up of strips of background fabrics cut the the dimensions listed above and 2 1/2″ finished HST units.  Lily cut those herself using the Sizzix but they can be rotary cut as well, of course.

Wheat Block

 

After the block was pieced, we placed stabilizer/tear away behind it and used wool Aurifil thread and a stitch length of 3 to stitch the stem and some waving leaves/grasses.  I stitched up free hand and then Lily stitched down working off my stitching.  It was team work.

I hope you enjoy making this block!  Remember to join us on Instagram with the hashtag #littlehousealong.

Lily is just beginning book 5 and says that the print is a lot smaller so the next block might be a couple of weeks out!  Time will tell!

 

Ombre Vibes Now Available-Free!

Ombre Vibes by Amy Friend

Thank you to everyone who has been asking for this pattern and thank you for your patience!  Ombre Vibes is now available as a free pattern on the Sizzix site.  You can find it right here.  Have fun with it!

In other news, have you seen my Blogger Bundle for July at the Fat Quarter Shop? It’s right here.

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Filtered Sunlight

Filtered Sunlight by Judy Durant

I’m so proud of my mom!  This is my mom’s quilt titled “Filtered Sunlight.”  She (Judy Durant) has been sewing for years and years and was the one who taught me to sew.  But this is only her second quilt and the first quilt that she has completed start to finish on her own.  I love the gradations of grey that she used for the background. It just makes the quilt.  The circular quilting helps emphasize her design too.

She made this quilt for the Modern Quilt Guild Michael Miller Fabric Challenge and it is one of the 9 finalists.  See the blog post here.  Good luck mom!

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Church

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Church Block

Here is block 9 in our Little House on the Prairie Sew Along!  Lily is reading On the Banks of Plum Creek.  In this book, they move to a town for the first time and get to go to a real church and a real school for the first time.  We decided to make the church with the belfry and one window on the side as described in the book.

Again, Lily chose all the fabrics and did the sewing. I cut the fabrics for her and helped with pinning, etc.

You can download the templates to make this 14″ block here.  Have fun!

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Sheep

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Lily with Sheep Block

I definitely have the best blog readers ever!  Not only do you all leave supportive comments for Lily, but when I mentioned having a hard time coming up with a simple to sew sheep, Sharon sent me an email and a picture of her 1980s quilt with a simple sheep block!

Sharon's Sheep Block

 

Sharon didn’t have the designer’s name for the original block. I drafted it to suit our purposes, as a 14″ finished block.

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Here is a comparable pattern that will work with our sew along.  Simply cut your fabric to the sizes shown in this layout.

Sheep Block

The resulting block is so cute.  We are going to add button eyes like this after we quilt.

When I posted the picture on Instagram, Synnove recognized it as a Debbie Mumm pattern from “Quick Country Quilting” from 1992.  The pattern is called “Flock of Sheep” and the blocks are 8″.  Sharon remembers sewing her quilt in the 1980s so maybe they are similar patterns or the book had a couple of editions?  Anyway, I hope my modifications make it ok to use the block for this purpose.

The reason we wanted to include a sheep block for the Farmer Boy book is because there is a chapter where Almanzo betters his father and brother who keep telling him that they are going to beat him no matter how fast he works.  They are shearing the sheep and he is carrying the wool to the second floor in the barn.  He catches on and realizes why they will beat him so he sneaks a sheep up to the second floor before it is sheared.  At the end, he beats them.  All the wool is upstairs and they have one more sheep to shear.  Lily thought it was very funny.

I hope you have fun making block 8 in our sew along!  Now, back to reading On the Banks of Plum Creek.

 

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Almanzo’s Pumpkin

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Almanzo's Pumpkin Block

 

Lily has finished Farmer Boy!  She enjoyed it but not as much as the stories about Laura so she is happy to be reading On the Banks of Plum Creek now. I am excited because this book introduces Nellie Olsen and I know she will be amused by her antics.

Last time I mentioned that the next block was going to take a bit of design work.  Well, this isn’t it!  Lily would like to sew a sheep block after a funny story that she read about in Farmer Boy.  However, I am having a hard time designing a sheep block that is a simple sew.  I told her I would work on it in a bit but meanwhile, we are carrying on.  In Farmer Boy, Almanzo’s milk fed pumpkin takes first place at the fair.  Lily decided that it would be fun to have a pumpkin block, which is oh so much easier.  This is Block 7 in the sew along. I think we are going to make about 20 blocks for a 4 x 5 layout after reading all 9 of the novels.  We are starting the 4th book now.

Pumpkin Block

 

To create this 14″ finished pumpkin block, cut the following:

Out of background fabric:

A:  2″ x 14 1/2″

B:  Cut two 3″ x 6 1/2″

E:  Cut four 3 1/2″ squares

Out of stem fabric:

C:  2 1/2″ 3″

Out of pumpkin fabric:

D:  10 1/2″ x 14 1/2″

Sew the B pieces to either side of C.  Press.  Attach piece A and set aside.

Sewing Pumpkin Block

Place the four squares of background fabric at the four corners of the pumpkin and draw a diagonal line from point to point and stitch along the line as Lily is doing in this picture. Trim 1/4″ to the outside of the stitching line and press.  Now attach the top of the block to the bottom.

Pumpkin BlockAs usual, Lily chose all her own fabrics. I like the background print because Almanzo grows corn and it looks like corn to me.

Lily sewingOne more picture of my little seamstress!  I hope you are having fun sewing along. I read Lily all of your comments and she is enjoying all the support and encouragement (and praise!)

 

 

 

Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone

Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone Cover by Amy Friend

I have been intending to sew and share this new paper piecing pattern for the past few weeks but life has been so busy! I really enjoyed sewing up these blocks.  I used Violet Craft’s new fabric, Brambleberry Ridge for Michael Miller, for the background of the block. It reminds me of the seagulls that are always swooping over head at the beach.  The cone material is also a Michael Miller fabric called Dot ‘n Square in Citron.  The ice cream is BasicGrey’s Grunge in brown and vanilla.

Soft Serve Ice Cream Cones by Amy Friend

It would be fun to make these in many different fabric “flavors”!  If you would like to sew some in your favorite flavors, you can find the pattern in my Craftsy shop and Etsy shop.

Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone by Amy Friend

I hope you are enjoying your summer time!
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Wet Suit Bag Tutorial

Wet Suit Bag Tutorial by Amy Friend

 

You can find my free tutorial for this Wet Suit Bag on the Therm O Web blog today. It is fully lined with vinyl coated fabric so that you can toss your wet bathing suit in it, zip the bag, and throw it into your larger tote to bring home without getting everything soaked. The bathing suit is a simple and fun applique. Enjoy!

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Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Barn Block

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Barn Block

Lily is finishing up reading the third book in the Little House series, Farmer Boy.  It’s about Almanzo’s childhood.  Almanzo becomes Laura’s husband years later.  Lily would prefer to hop to the next book and read more about Mary, Laura, Ma, Pa and baby Carrie.  But she does enjoy the stories about animals of which are plenty in this book.  Almanzo lives on a big farm and there are three large barns.  So, we started with a barn!

The block is my adaptation of Iowa Barns found in 5,500 Quilt Block Designs.  Lily chose her own fabrics again and did all the sewing. I did the cutting from templates.

You can download the templates here. Again, you will need to lay the template pieces out so that they make sense when looking at the diagram provided.  Sometimes this will mean that the letters will be upside down or on their sides.  Cut with the templates right side up on the fabric, also right side up.

Lily with Barn Block

 

I hope you enjoy sewing your own barn!  Lily has an idea for the next block that is going to really put me to work designing.  It’s not likely that it will be ready for at least a week because I have some quilting I have to get done.  So, it’s a good time to catch up on your blocks and reading!

 

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Maple Leaf

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Maple Leaf BlockI love it, I wasn’t producing new block patterns quickly enough for a little girl named Caitlyn, so she decided to enlist her mom’s help and come up with another block for Little House in the Big Woods!  I love her enthusiasm!  She emailed Lily asking if she would like to sew the block too.  It’s a Maple Leaf block to go along with the Sugar Snow chapter.  As it turns out, Lily is reading the third book now, Farmer Boy, and there is a chapter on sugaring down the sap and making maple syrup.  Like so many of the blocks, it will suit multiple books.

Caitlyn’s mom, Tiffany, has provided a pdf with directions to make this block if you’d like to join us!  Download it here. See Caitlyn’s beautiful block here.

Lily sewing

If you are sewing along and come up with a great block idea like Caitlyn did, please feel free to share it with me so I can share it with others!  Thank you for your contribution to the sew along Caitlyn.

Lily is ready to work on her first Farmer Boy block this week. We’ll be making a barn. Check back!

Indelible Footprint Quilt Top

Indelible Footprint Quilt Top by Amy Friend

I was thrilled to be invited to join the Indelible Blog Hop celebrating the Indelible collection by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics. This collection captivates me. I love the doily prints, the text, so much about it!

Indelible Footprint by Amy Friend

My quilt top was made using a Fat Quarter bundle of the Subtle Watermarks colorway. I was inspired by a Moroccan floor tile design to create this hexagonal pattern. That’s also how my quilt top got it’s name. I have heard people speak of leaving “indelible footprints,” meaning footprints that can’t be erased, or a lasting impression.  Since the fabric collection is named Indelible and the pattern is that of flooring, it works!

Indelible Footprint by Amy Friend

I used my Sizzix Bigz Pro Hexagon Die with 5″ Sides. I was able to cut 4 large hexagons from each fat quarter though my design only requires 3. I cut additional hexagons from the Mystic Grey Pure Elements Solid. Then I cut partial hexagons from Moonlight Pure Elements Solids. I trimmed away the corners of each hexagon and added the Moonlight sections which create the pattern.

Indelible Footprint by Amy Friend

The hexagons were joined on my machine using Y seams. This was my first Y seam intensive project and it gave me lots of practice!  It just involves starting and stopping a precise 1/4″ from the edge of each hexie. It is a little slow going but very doable.

I am not sure yet how I plan to quilt this top but I will share it again once I decide!

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You can read more about the blog hop and the other contributors here.

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A Couple of Contests!

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The Fat Quarter Shop is having a fun and easy contest.  Have you seen their cute “Sew What?” tshirts?  All you need to do is take a selfie of you wearing the tshirt share it to win prizes.  The contest begins today, July 8, 2014 and to enter, all you have to do is take an awesome selfie with your Sew What shirt, hashtag  it #sewwhatselfie, and tag@fatquartershop on FacebookTwitterInstagram and/or Google+. Wherever you post, that will count as one entry, and they will find your posts by the #sewwhatselfie hashtag!

Two winners will be chosen every month from July through September and the winners will receive a $100 Fat Quarter Shop gift card.
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The Fat Quarter Shop sent me a tshirt so here you go…my selfie!  If I can do it, so can you!  Full details can be found here.

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ThermOWeb is having a fun summer contest with cash and adhesive prizes!  This contest is focused more toward paper crafters than fabric but I know I have some readers who fall into that category and would love to try it out.  Find all the details here.

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Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Pet and Patty

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Pet and Patty Block
Lily has just finished sewing block 4 of the sew along; the second block for the second book in the series, Little House on the Prairie. She is now moving on to Farmer Boy but we reserve the right to add a block from any book we feel like at the end if we decide that we need another block or two!

Lily really loves horses so she wanted to make Pet and Patty, the Ingalls’ horses.  I found this horse as a part of a block called Winner’s Circle in the book 5,500 Quilt Block Designs.  I adapted it to remove the outer borders and enlarged it to a 14″ finished block.  I would normally paper piece a block like this but decided to use templates to make it more like what Lily expects.  When you are cutting your fabric from the templates, please look at the block layout diagram so that you orient your templates properly.  This means that the letter on the pattern piece will not always be right side up, sometimes to the side, etc.  Look at the diagram for placement.  Cut with your fabric right side up and templates right side up.

Pet and Patty Block

You will need a horse color, a mane/tail color and background color.  I loved Lily’s choices for the horse body and mane.  When we were looking for a background fabric as soon as she saw the birds, I knew there would be no changing her mind. I think it makes it a little busy with the tail but I can see how an 8 year old girl would fall for the bird print.  It’s awfully sweet!

Pet and Patty Block

I was worried that it would be hard to sew this block with Lily but it went together really smoothly after I precut all the pieces for her.  We talked about, “which piece do you think goes next?” so she understood how the block was being constructed.

You can download the templates and block layout diagram here.

Thanks for sewing along!  I started a Flickr group if you would like to add your blocks there.  If you post them on Instagram make sure you tag me so I see!  I am @duringquiettime.

 

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Mary’s Nine Patch

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Mary's Nine Patch

Well, Lily just finished reading the second book in the series, Little House on the Prairie. While she was reading, she took great interest in the fact that Mary was busily working on a Nine Patch quilt. She asked what a Nine Patch looked like and decided to make one and name this block, Mary’s Nine Patch. Laura worked on a Nine Patch in the story too but not as diligently as Mary so we agreed that it should be named after just Mary.

Mary's Nine Patch

This is a great beginner block which makes it perfect for this sew along. I asked Lily to choose two small scale prints, one that was darker and one that was lighter. We cut the nine patch squares 2 1/2″ each and assembled them first. Then we added two 2 1/2″ borders to bring it up to 14 1/2″ unfinished like the other blocks.

Lily sewing

We chose subtle borders so that the nine patch is really the focus. It will also help balance the quilt if some of the blocks are busier.

Lily has her heart set on also making a horse block for this quilt. That one is going to be a bit trickier and will require more patience from mommy. We’ll be back with that one next. Meanwhile, I am trying to get a bit of my own sewing done here and there. I am working on a project with Indelible for Art Gallery that I hope to share with you soon.

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Black Susan

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Lily and I were surprised to hear from so many Little House on the Prairie fans who might like to sew along with us this summer.  I made this little button for our sew along.  Feel free to share it if you would like and join us!

To recap, Lily is eight and I would love to share my fondness for the Little House series with her but she doesn’t normally like to read books that I suggest.  So, I bribed her a bit!  I told her that we would sew a block or two after each book and make her a quilt.  That sparked her interest.  She started out by reading the first book in the series, Little House in the Big Woods.  In that story, the Ingalls family lives in a log cabin in the Big Woods.  So, we made a log cabin block with 2 1/2″ strips resulting in a 14 1/2″ square.  Our original blog post is here.

Lily sewing

We are half way through reading the second book now. I am reading her a chapter here and there and she is reading to herself as well. But we decided to make a second block for Little House in the Big Woods before moving on.

Black Susan

Our block is Black Susan, the Ingalls’ family cat who was mentioned many times in the first book but the family had to leave her behind when they left the Big Woods. It’s a fairly simple block, like the log cabin, but introduces a couple of half square triangles. You can cut those out using traditional methods, or with a Sizzix die cutter if you have one. We used the diecutter because it gave Lily more independence. I rotary cut the other pieces.  Directions for making half square triangles are widely available so I am not including them here.

Black Susan layout

Here is a little cutting diagram for you.  First, assemble your HST units and trim them to 2 1/2″ square and 4 1/2″ square.  (No trimming is necessary if you are using die cut pieces.) Then, assemble the row with Black Susan’s ears.  Attach that strip to her head and then to her body; set aside.  Next sew the right hand column.  Join these two pieces to complete the cat.  We then added two 2 1/2″ x 14 1/2″ strips of background fabric to either side of the block to bring it up to a 14 1/2″ square like our log cabin. The larger size blocks make them easier for kids to sew.  And, it will make for a larger quilt with fewer blocks which is more satisfying!

We will be back before too long with our first block from Little House on the Prairie. We already have a list of 6 ideas so there will likely be at least two blocks again.

Bushel Basket of Apples Pattern

Bushel Basket of Apples by Amy Friend

I just designed this 12″ paper pieced block for Melinda in the Cocorico Bee.  Her theme is Farmer’s Market and I decided on a slatted bushel basket full of apples!

I utilized the seams formed by paper piecing to give the effect of a slatted basket. I really like how that worked.  In order to make it work, I think it is important to choose a solid.  To add a little interest, but not too much which would obscure the seam lines, I chose a textured solid. I got it from Sew Fresh and I am not sure if it is Bamboo or Sandstone because it doesn’t match either image exactly.  I had a lot of fun choosing 4 different red prints for the apples and couldn’t resist including the Japanese text print that actually reads, “Apples.”  It was an obvious choice!  The background fabric is an Adornit print from Sew Me A Song.

Bushel Basket of Apples Detail by Amy Friend

I’m going to get this off in the mail for Melinda before it gets lost in my sewing room. I am looking forward to seeing her completed Farmer’s Market quilt!

Bushel Basket of Apples Pattern by Amy Friend

If you would like to make this block, you can find the pattern in my Craftsy shop and my Etsy shop.
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Little House on the Prairie Sampler Project

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When I was a little girl, I devoured the Little House on the Prairie series.  I absolutely loved it. I proceeded to watch the Little House series on tv when I was a little bit older and have reread the books several times.  I really think that my 8 year old, Lily, would love the series.  However, anytime my husband or I try to get the kids to read something we think they will like, they automatically do not want to read it.  So, I devised a spur of the moment plan for this summer that feels genius!  I think it might work but time will tell.  I told Lily that after each book she read, we could design and sew a quilt block that has something to do with the book and then make it into a quilt for her.  She jumped at the chance and quickly read the first book, Little House in the Big Woods.

Little House in the Big Woods Log Cabin Block

With a little help, she settled on the log cabin block for her first block. I told her the name of the block and she quickly saw how it related to the story since the Ingalls family lived in a little log cabin in the woods.  I thought it would be a good beginner block too.  She chose all of her own fabrics from my stash. She went with meadow flowers for the center, greens for the woods and grasses, and blues for the water and sky.  I did the cutting and ironing but she did the sewing. I told her that she could do the ironing too next time.  Some of the blocks she will be able to cut with the Sizzix and therefore do even more of it on her own.

Sewing Speed

I wonder if any little girls out there would like to sew along with us?  I can’t promise how frequently we will post but I am going to try my best to encourage Lily to finish this project.  We might do a little of the reading together too.

I have a couple of tips to pass on.  If you have the option of reducing the speed of your machine, turning it way down low helps greatly with accuracy for beginners.

quarter inch seamIt also really helped Lily to have a washi tape guide to help her keep to the 1/4″ seam, even with the 1/4″ presser foot.

Lily is reading Little House on the Prairie now and already thinking that she might want a horse for her next block but she isn’t far enough into the book to know for sure!

Oliso Pro Iron and Massdrop

Oliso Pro

Have you heard about Massdrop?  I became aware of it recently when I saw news on social media about great deals on Aurifil and Liberty.  There’s a site called massdrop.com and they organize group buys for different online communities (in this case quilters).  The way a groupbuy works is that a bunch of people vote on what they want to buy, and then Massdrop negotiates with the company and orders it in bulk.  They then pass on the bulk discounts to the group.  The best part is that the more people that join the buy, the bigger the discount gets!

There’s been a poll for high quality quilting irons on the site and the community voted overwhelming in favor of the Oliso TG1600 Pro.  Massdrop approached Oliso and negotiated a great price.  The iron will be offered at a savings of around $50 (the Massdrop price is $119 compared to the usual $169) if 30 people commit to buying one.

Sarah Rosenberg was recently hired as Massdrop’s Quilting and Crafting “buyer” (how cool of a job is that), and she follows me here and on Instagram.  She noticed my IG post about the death of my previous iron, and has sent me an Oliso TG1600 to review for all of you to see.

I first tried an Oliso at Quilt Market in May.  The Oliso booth was in my line of view all day as I did demonstrations for Sizzix. I was finger pressing so, eventually, I went over for an iron demo and to see if I could press the blocks I was working on. I was impressed by the iron for a number of reasons.  Although my iron only arrived a couple of days ago, I just gave it a good workout putting together a quilt top and am happy to say that the features that intrigued me at market, held true at home.

Oliso Pro
You might notice that in its resting position, the Oliso stays horizontal on the ironing board surface.  It can sense your hand letting go and once that happens, it automatically lifts itself up.  When your hand touches the handle again, it lowers into the ironing position.  In the image above, you can see how it rests hovering above the board.  Because the iron is fairly heavy, this helps with repetitive use kind of injuries.  But it also makes the iron so stable. At the demo in Pittsburgh, the woman in the Oliso booth actually tipped her ironing board back and forth to show me how the iron would not fall off. I really like this selling point because, like many of you, I sew in a house full of children.  Several times a day, I say, “Becareful!  There is a hot iron right behind you!”  My previous irons have been knocked off ironing boards several times. So I love that I have to worry a little bit less with the Oliso.  It really isn’t prone to tipping over.
Oliso Pro
If you just can’t get used to this feature and find yourself freaking out each time you see the iron resting horizontally, you can turn this feature off.  It does take some getting used to because we have all had it drilled into our heads to tilt an iron back so it doesn’t scorch your fabric or the ironing board.  But I am already getting used to this feature and I love it for the stability. Plus, it is kind of fun to see the iron pop up as soon as my hand releases it.  All my kids (including my husband) have asked to try it and think it is the coolest thing ever.
The other feature I really love is the delayed automatic shut off.  With previous irons, I have felt like I was playing beat the clock to stitch my next seam and get to the iron again before it shut off.  The Oliso stays on for 30 minutes before shutting off.  It’s great for quilters that way. I find that I really do need the automatic shut off because I just tried an iron without one and left it on accidentally for a few hours.  That’s scary. So I am happy to have an iron that will shut off but not too quickly!

I can’t speak to the longevity of this iron yet, but in addition to the special features listed above, I am also very pleased with the quality of the pressing. The iron has enough weight to it and gives a nice amount of steam (which is adjustable). Without using starch, I was able to get my seams to press really nicely in just a single pass.  The iron also has a particularly long cord which is a helpful feature in my sewing room. It gives me a little more freedom as to where I can place my ironing board and still reach an outlet!

If you are interested in purchasing an Oliso, this is a great way to get a good deal on it. Visit Massdrop by clicking this link and it will bring you right to the iron page!  This group buy goes live today, June 23rd.

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Winner!

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Thank you to everyone who entered the Fat Quarter Shop’s great giveaway of a fat eighth bundle of 25th and Pine and the Mittens and Main quilt pattern! The lucky winner is:

melissa says:

June 17, 2014 at 10:32 pm (Edit)

I already like fqs on fb.

Mellisa, I have emailed you!

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Fat Quarter Shop Giveaway!

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I’m happy to host a giveaway for the Fat Quarter Shop today! You can win a Fat Eighth Stack of 25th and Pine by BasicGrey for Moda.

Mittens & Main by Amy Friend for BasicGrey

You will also receive a copy of my Mittens and Main quilt pattern which calls for a Fat Eighth Bundle. It’s the perfect combo.

I know, I know, it’s summer. But, as I have said before, it’s a great time to get started on a Christmas project! Or you can stash the pattern and fabric away till November and then frantically sew it up for the holidays!

The giveaway is open to international entries.

You will receive one entry for each of the following.  Just leave a comment telling me which you have done:

LIKE us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FatQuarterShop

SUSCRIBE to our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/FatQuarterShop

FOLLOW us on Instagram: @fatquartershop and @duringquiettime

Tweet about the giveaway including @fatquartershop and @duringquiettime

The giveaway will close on Saturday June 21st.

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Fat Quarter Shop Shipping Special

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The Fat Quarter Shop is celebrating their 11th Anniversary with a shipping promotion starting today, Monday June 16th till Sunday June 22nd.

All U.S. orders over $40 will have free shipping and all international orders over $40 shipping will have shipping 40% off.

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Sponsor News

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I have a little sponsor news to share this afternoon!  School ends next week here in New England so Becca is offering an end of the school year shipping sale at Sew Me A Song.  The School’s Out Celebration Flat Rate Shipping Special runs through June 15th.  The rates are $2.50 in the US, $9.00 in Canada and $12.00 Everywhere else.  There is no minimum purchase required and no coupon code needed.

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Also, Glimma is on sale at Fresh Squeezed Fabrics for 50% off! That’s just $5.00 a yard! Just click the “sale of the week” link in the sidebar.

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Busy, Busy!

Paper piecing stack by Amy Friend

 

I haven’t been blogging very actively lately but it isn’t because I haven’t been sewing. It’s just one of those times when I can’t share what I am working on.  I will show a few sneak peeks though!  The above is a stack of paper pieced blocks for an upcoming pattern. I chose a soft, pastel palette for this one!  It’s quite time intensive and precise.

Persimmon

 

Meanwhile, I am working on a second pattern. In stark contrast, this one is an easy sew, jelly roll pattern.

Persimmon

 

I’m using Persimmon by BasicGrey.  They are both coming together nicely and I look forward to sharing them!

Strawberries

 

I’ve also been keeping busy in the yard.  Our berry patch is doing nicely this year!  I think that this is year three and it seems pretty well established now.  We have also started a vegetable garden in addition to the herb and berry garden that I already had.

GardenMy perennial gardens have been keeping me busy too; there’s lots of weeding, mulching and watering going on!

It’s also nearly the end of the school year here so I have been attending lots of end of year functions at the school, planning school parties, hosting Brownie and Cub Scout events, and going to softball games.  And my daughter turns 5 this weekend which can’t go unnoticed.  We are planning a “tropical” themed party for a bunch of little girls.  Things certainly aren’t dull and I am looking forward to a breather in a couple of weeks!

 

 

Mittens and Main Pillow

Mittens and Main by Amy Friend for BasicGrey

Do you remember the quilt I designed for BasicGrey called Mittens and Main? I shared it in this post here. Both the fabric and patterns are now available in your local quilt shop. I know it’s summer time but I always love working on at least one Christmas project over the summer. Go ahead, call me crazy. But I do! It’s my favorite holiday and it’s less stressful to make Christmas things in the summer when you aren’t also shopping and baking like a crazy person.

Anyway, if you make the lap sized quilt using a fat eighth bundle, you will notice that you have some leftover prints that don’t get used in the quilt top. Or, you might quite possibly get carried away like I did and make an extra block without realizing it.

Mittens and Main Pillow by Amy Friend

Extra blocks can be used to make cute mitten pillows like this one. Just make the mitten block in the same dimensions shown in the pattern. Then cut 4 setting triangles that are just a bit larger than called for, by about an inch. Then quilt your pillow top as desired and square it up.

Mittens and Main Pillow by Amy Friend

I quilted straight lines on the cuff to look like the ridges formed by rows of knitting. And then I quilted the background in loops reminiscent of falling snow.

Fly Zip Bags

"Fly" Zip Bags by Amy Friend

I just finished making gifts for my children’s teachers.  This year we have three preschool teachers, one second grade teacher, and four fifth grade teachers so I set up an assembly line and got busy making eight zip bags.

"Fly" Zip Bag by Amy Friend

I cut the outer bags using various large linen scraps and linen look prints.  The insides are all lined with a solid that coordinates with the applique.  To create the bag fronts, I applied HeatnBond Lite to the wrong side of some small scale prints that I used for the bird appliques. Then I diecut the birds using a lovely bird shape called the Songbird. I fused the applique shape to a bag front measuring 7 1/2″ x 10 1/2″. I backed the bag front and back with fusible fleece.

"Fly" fmq by Amy Friend

After the fusible fleece was applied, I free motion quilted around the outer edge of the appliqued shape and free motion quilted the word “fly.” I also decided to add a little metallic bead for the eye.

Zippers by Amy Friend

I chose coordinating zippers to pick up the colors in the applique. I just love a good zipper picture! The zippers are all from Zipit.

Fly Zip Bags by Amy Friend

I was pretty pleased that I was able to use only stashed materials for these gifts. I hope that the teachers will like them. My kids assure me that they will! That’s half the battle; they are pleased with the gifts they will be offering.

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Field Day

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I just got really spoiled by Alison Glass! She held a giveaway on Instagram following Quilt Market and I was one of the winners. Today this beautiful bundle of Field Day arrived in the mail. The colors are wonderful-much more so than they are in this quick picture taken with my phone. They are saturated and bold and I can’t wait to make something with them. The big question is what to make???

Sponsor/Affiliate Updates and HUGE Giveaway

MegaQuiltMarket Sweepstakes

The Fat Quarter Shop is having a HUGE giveaway.  The total value of the giveaway retails at over $6,300 and is divided into 12 prize buckets.  The prizes range from fabric bundles to books and notions.  There is a video showing all of the prizes and trust me, you don’t want to miss the chance to win!

To enter click through to this post on the Jolly Jabber. The contest runs through June 30th.

C+S-banner1 C+S-banner2Marmalade Fabrics is offering Cotton+Steel subscriptions!  Click through to sign up now.

 

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Sizzix is having a great sale! I would recommend the Joseph’s Coat die on sale for 50% off. Or check out the 1 1/2″ Circles die at 45% off. There are a lot of good dies for sale if you take some time to scroll through.

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Last of the Market Posts

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I figured it’s time to share the rest of my Quilt Market pictures!  This will just be a quick run down with pretty images.  First of all, Cotton + Steel lived up to all the hype.  The collections are gorgeous!

IMG_20140517_090948bThis was such a simple design but eye catching.

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Look at all those yummy fabrics!

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The Art Gallery booths were all stunning.  I love the yo yo wall.

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One of the highlights of market for me was meeting Pat Bravo.  I also got to chat with Jeni Baker a bit which was so nice!

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Allison Glass does beautiful work–nice saturated colors.

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I kind of wanted to take one of Caroline Friedlander’s quilt ladders home…with the quilts still on it!

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This is a sweet quilt on the Michael Miller booth.  This booth was next to the Sizzix booth where I was throughout market and somehow, I never went into their booth.  I don’t know how these things happen!

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I so wish that Anna Maria Horner was at market this time!  I had hoped to meet her.

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I was able to meet Julia from ThermOWeb as well as a couple of the other people from her company which was great.  Don’t you love the tshirt on the dress form?

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These Peppered Cottons were beautiful.

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And here is my Topiary bag in the Anna Griffin/Blend Booth!

I really had a great market experience, thanks again to Sizzix for letting me join them!

 

New Sweet Tea Pattern

Sweet Tea Pattern by Amy Friend for BasicGrey

I have been designing patterns for BasicGrey for awhile now. However, while my quilts have gone to market, I have not! So, it was very exciting for me to see my quilt design hanging in the BasicGrey booth this year and to meet a staff member from BasicGrey who I first started working with about 5 years ago now, for the first time.

Sweet Tea Pattern by Amy Friend for BasicGrey

This is my new pattern design featuring BasicGrey’s soon to be released collection called Persimmon. I love both the fabric and the quilt design. It sews together easily yet the design is interesting and fun, with a modern feel. The quilting accentuates the modern feel. It was done by Abby Latimer.

Sweet Tea Pattern by Amy Friend for BasicGrey

The folks at Moda also made a version of this quilt to hang in the main section of the booth which was opposite the BasicGrey display. I love the quilting on theirs too; it results in a completely different feel to the quilt. I sort of stalked this booth throughout market because a gentleman from Moda was sitting in front of the quilt meeting with customers and I wanted a picture. I finally explained myself on Sunday and asked him politely to move. The Moda rep next to him laughed and said that’s why he wasn’t sitting in front of a quilt. Apparently, they get asked a lot!

Sweet Tea Pattern by Amy Friend for BasicGrey

The pattern will be released with the fabric collection in September. The pattern will be on sale at BasicGrey in both paper and pdf. Both the pattern and the fabric will be available in the Fat Quarter Shop.  Also look for the pattern and fabric in your local quilt shop.

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Sizzix at Quilt Market

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I had the pleasure of joining the Sizzix team in their booth for Quilt Market this past weekend.  

Fabi Quilt Market

This was the booth!  For those of you not familar with the Fabi, it is the latest Sizzix die cutting machine.  Basically, it is a redesigned Big Shot made to appeal to quilters.  It has stitching details on the sides and a Cathedral Windows like pattern.  So many people have the misconception that the Big Shot only cuts paper.  This machine intends to make it clear that it is also for fabric!  In fact, you can cut up to 8 layers of fabric. You can still cut paper with the Sizzix too, without worrying about dulling the blades.  This allows you to cut paper hexies, for instance, with the smaller 1″ Hexagon die and your fabric with the slightly larger 1 1/4″ Hexagon Die for English Paper Piecing. The product is very versatile.

**Edited to answer some questions I am getting. The Fabi and the Big Shot are the same exact machines. They use the same 6″ Bigz dies. The Big Shot Pro is the larger machine. It takes 12″ wide dies. You can use it for the smaller 6″ dies too but the 12″ dies obviously will not fit in the 6″ machines (Big Shot and Fabi).

The Sizzix team made me feel very welcome on this trip. I spent time in the booth showing people how to use the machines and letting them give it a try. With the pieces they cut out, they could design a block on the design wall. I spent much of my time sewing the blocks together on a nice Bernina machine borrowed from the folks in the Bernina booth. We joked that it was “Survivor” sewing because I was without an iron or a seam ripper but those blocks got done just the same! They will be assembled and the finished quilt will be donated to some lucky girl.

Katy

I was happy to have a number of online friends come visit me in the booth and become “real life” friends. In this picture you can see Katy from The Littlest Thistle. She is one of my most faithful blog readers and commentators (much appreciated Katy). She stopped by to design a block. It was so fun to meet all the people who I have chatted with through email in person! That was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. I realized once I got home that I still missed finding a few people I had hoped to say hi to but I did see so very many!

Fabi

I designed and sewed one quilt for the booth. It’s the green, white and grey quilt seen here in the booth. I was asked to design a pattern using the 6 1/2″ square and 6 1/2″ HST dies.

Ombre Vibes by Amy Friend

Here is a quick picture that I took of the quilt before sending it off. I am calling it Ombre Vibes. As you can see, the fabrics move from lighter in the center to darker on the edges.

Quilting on Ombre Vibes by Amy Friend

Here is a close up on the quilting. I did some pretty tiny pebble quilting in the center square using a perfect minty colored Aurifil thread. Then I quilted with radiating wavy lines.

Sizzix has some fun new dies that were debuted at market. I think that the Crazy Quilt Die is sure to be a hit. It works perfectly with a layer cake. You cut up to 8 layers and then shuffle the fabrics to make 8 unique blocks. Repeat till your layer cake has disappeared! There is basically zero waste involved.

It was a lot of fun sharing the wonderful world of die cutting with people. It’s quite fun to see people’s reaction who have never tried it. They are so surprised at how easy it is to turn the handle on the machine and are excited to see all the perfect cuts.

Tim Holtz

Tim Holtz came to do some demos in the booth. He is certainly a crowd favorite. So many people asked for pictures with him! Tim designs dies for Sizzix but he also has his own booth, sharing fabric from his second collection for Coats. It was fun to meet Tim and his crew-Mario and Paula. They are all so fun to be around.

Pillow in Tim Holtz booth

Here is a peek of my tablet cover and pillow in Tim’s booth. I twisted Becca’s arm and she has ordered several bolts from Tim’s first and second collections so look for them at Sew Me A Song in upcoming weeks/months.

I am so wiped out today. I am not used to sleeping through city noises so sleeping was hard for me! I arrived home last night to 3 very grateful children and my husband. I think that they are all glad to have me back, which is a nice feeling. I am sure many other mothers feel as I do normally–completely unappreciated. So, it’s a nice feeling that I will enjoy for a day or two perhaps before things go back to normal!

I shared more pictures of market on Instagram but I will blog about the other booths later on this week. Now, it is time to catch up on laundry and school field trip permission forms and school pictures, oh my!

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Quilt Market-Tim Holtz

Basket Pillow made with Eclectic Elements (Tim Holtz) by Amy Friend

I am at Quilt Market in Pittsburgh right now, working in the Sizzix booth. I’ve scheduled this post while I am away to share a couple of fun projects that I made for the Tim Holtz, Eclectic Elements booth for Coats.  Hopefully I will be able to snap a couple of pictures with my phone to share with you later too.  I love working with Tim Holtz prints.  They are always unique, fun and inspirational.  I was inspired by his basket weave print to make this pieced basket pillow cover.  I had fun fussy cutting the numbers print.  The musical notes make a terrific (though highly directional!) background. I am thrilled that this collection includes a floral as well which was needed to pull off the basket design!

Eclectic Elements Tablet Cover by Amy Friend
I also made a tablet cover using his map print which is another favorite of mine from this collection.

Eclectic Elements Tablet Cover by Amy Friend

I handstitched along the printed route lines and added little “x” marks at the destinations for some added interest and texture.

Eclectic Elements Tablet Cover by Amy Friend

It’s always fun to make a few projects for the Coats booth and hope to have the chance to do it again next time! I can’t wait to actually visit the booth. Hopefully I will be doing that as you are reading my post!

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Mittens & Main Quilt Pattern

PAT-8118_MittensMain_Cover

I’m happy to finally share my newest pattern designed for BasicGrey!  It’s called Mittens & Main and it features their new Christmas collection, 25th and Pine.  The collection is full of fun prints in green, red, ivory, and navy.  I was happy to see navy included because I think it helps extends the fabric collection into the winter months, beyond just Christmas.  For that reason, I focused on mittens which are not exclusive to Christmas but are worn all winter long.  Each mitten highlights a print from the collection paired with a grunge cuff.  I think that my favorite print might be the deer and evergreen print but I really like them all.

Mittens & Main by Amy Friend for BasicGrey

 

I designed this quilt back in the fall so it is fun to finally share it!  The mittens are easy and enjoyable to piece so the top comes right together.  I think it would be really fun to make a version of this quilt where there is one set of mittens and the rest are random.  Or, make it a quilt full of pairs of mittens.  There are lots of possibilities.  Putting the blocks on point and changing the direction of the mittens gives the quilt a lot of movement.  I pieced the quilt and the quilting was done by Krista Withers.

Oh, and the lap quilt is a healthy 68″ square so it is really great for cuddling on the couch and keeping you warm from toes on up!

The entire collection is now available at the Fat Quarter Shop as is the pattern. Patterns only will be available from the BasicGrey site shortly.  The pattern includes multiple sizes and works well with precuts.

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Another 241 Tote

241 Tote

I just finished up my second 241 Tote, pattern by Anna of Noodlehead. I made one that was more for fall and winter last time so I wanted to make a spring/summer bag this time.

This bag is made with a panel of Melody Miller Ruby Star Canvas for Kokka that I purchased at Sew Me A Song. I paired it with Kona Navy.  I’m happy to use it now!

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Oakshott Colourshott Diamond Runner

Oakshott Colourshott Diamond Runner by Amy Friend

I’ve had so much fun with this project! Every time I get to work with Oakshott, it is such a gift. The fabrics are so deep and beautiful and they have this amazing sheen that just sets them apart from regular quilting cottons. This always makes me hesitant to make the first cut because I want to make sure I am going to like the outcome. It took me awhile to mull over what I wanted to do with the 10″ squares of Oakshott Colourshott but I think the time spent thinking was worth it. I love the finished runner.

Oakshott Colourshott Diamond Runner by Amy FriendI used a paper pieced block of my own design to make diamonds that appear to be improv pieced.  Why paper piece then instead of improv piecing?  Well, that’s a good question. I certainly could have done it that way but I sort of wanted each diamond to be broken up the same way to create a bit of a pattern in my design.  Also, because I had mapped out how I was breaking up each diamond, I was able to cut way back on fabric waste.  When I improv piece, I waste a lot fabric and I wasn’t going to waste any of my Oakshott!

Oakshott Colourshott Diamond Runner by Amy Friend

I asked for quilting suggestions on Instagram. I knew I wanted to densely quilt in the Kona Putty background sections. I was thinking of simple straight line quilting at the time.  I have Jess to thank for suggesting this quilting design that mimics the piecing. I used my free motion quilting foot and straight line quilted as straight as I could to create triangular sections filled with matchstick quilting.  She had such a great idea…thanks Jess!

Oakshott Colourshott Diamond Runner by Amy Friend

I bound the runner with an Anna Maria Horner print that is two tone in the pinkishy plum colors that are prevalent in this Oakshott collection.

If you are looking to purchase Oakshott, you can get on the mailing list to be notified of sales, etc. by going here. One of my sponsors, Marmalade Fabrics, also offers a collection of Oakshott Fabrics in her shop.

I have been asked if I will provide a pattern for this design and yes, I will, as soon as I can get it all together.

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Sewing a First Communion Dress

First Communion Dress by Amy Friend

My daughter received her First Communion today.  Long before I had children, I dreamed of making them dresses for their First Communions.  My oldest child is a boy so this was my first chance!  (Mind you, I did have fun dressing him in a suit too but it wasn’t something I had dreamed about!)

My daughter knows what she likes and what she doesn’t so I didn’t have complete design control!  She dislikes anything restrictive or that touches her body.  Yet she wanted a satin dress which has no give so I used the Geranium pattern as my starting point since it has very little fit.  She also asked for a lace over skirt with a scalloped bottom.  I was fortunate to find this Chantilly lace in Jo Ann and she thought it was perfect.  I used French seams when constructing the skirt and needed to match the scallops in three places, at the side seams and the back seam. Happily, after stressing out about it for awhile, it went well.  The tricky part is that the Geranium dress hem curves up on the sides so that the skirt hangs straight since it naturally pulls up in the center. I think most patterns I have used compensate for that by curving the lower bodice edge.  Since I could cut the lace at an curve while preserving the scallops, I pulled the lace layer up a bit on either side while pleating to make the lace hemline as even as possible with the bottom of the skirt, which we prehemmed. I say “we” because my mom hemmed it to save me time!  I purposely made the lace layer a bit shorter to allow some satin to show at the bottom.

First Communion Dress by Amy Friend

The back of the dress has clear glass buttons with gold edges.  And I handstitched little white lace flowers at the neckline with pearl beads in the center.  I love those little details.

First Communion

My mom gave her this sweet basket of flowers that made for an awfully cute picture!

First Communion, Hair with Baby's Breath

I French braided her hair and joined the two braids at the nape of her neck with a barrette.  I made the barrette using one of the most versatile Sizzix floral dies, Tim Holtz’ Tattered Floral. I cut several flowers using a few different bits of tulle and lace. I used a large handstitch in the center of each layer to gather up the petals a bit and then stitched three pearl buttons at the center. I used a couple of ribbons and hot-glued them to the velvet covered barrette before I attached the flower. I loved her hair. I thought it looked so angelic. Keeping it real, she hated it and cried as we left the house. But by the time we got to the church and she was told how beautiful she was by several people, she changed her tune.

I feel so content with the outcome of this sewing project, even though the lace was tricky and the satin was slippery. Lily loves her dress and said that it was just what she wanted so I am pleased!  I am sure that she will remember feeling beautiful on this special day.

Major Sizzix Sale

Sizzix is having a major sale starting today and ending on the 27th. Some dies are as much as 80% off! I just took a look and there are a lot of dies for sale, quite literally hundreds. It’s worth a look. Click below to shop:

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Oakshott Colourshott Diamonds

Oakshott

After I finished my daughters slippery satin and lace First Communion dress and all my market sewing obligations, I decided it was time for a little fun with this bundle of Oakshott-Colourshott.  As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I couldn’t decide on a plan but now I have!

Oakshott improv diamonds

I decided to make diamond shapes with an improv pieced look.  However, they are paper pieced.  One of the Colourshotts was a near match with Kona Putty so I am using that as my background fabric.  I am going to make these until my Oakshott runs out! I should have enough for at least a decent sized table runner.

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Everyday Skirt

Everyday SkirtJust in time for Easter, I finished an Everyday Skirt, pattern by Oliver & S.  I purchased the digital version here. I really like the pattern and plan to make more of them. It’s a very comfortable, wearable skirt.

Everyday Skirt detail

I like the flat front waistband and the pocket details. I used a Bungalow Rayon by Joel Dewberry from Hawthorne Threads. The fabric is not see through so it doesn’t require a slip yet has wonderful drape.

I have no pictures of it on because I don’t do selfies but maybe I will get a picture of it tomorrow?

Works in Progress

First Communion Dress

I’ve been busy sewing for quilt market this past month but those projects are starting to wrap up. In the meantime, I am sneaking a few minutes here and there to work on my daughter’s First Communion dress. I am working with satin and lace. Need I say more? You know what I am talking about. It frays, it slips and slides, it doesn’t iron all that well.  But all in all,  it is working out ok and I think she will have a dress to wear. Phew! This is a sneak peek of the neckline that I think is really sweet.

Oakshott

 

I am also anxious to work with this beautiful set of 10 inch squares of Oakshott-Colourshott.  It’s just so pretty that I am having a hard time deciding what to make and making that first cut.  Soon!

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Podcast Today

Pat Sloan American Patchwork and Quilting radio Amy Friend guest

Today’s the day! Tune into American Patchwork and Quilting Radio today at 4:00 EST. I will be talking to Pat Sloan about paper piecing, BasicGrey, To Boston with Love, etc.!

Seam Rippers Available

Seam Rippers

I am about to start listing this batch of handturned seam rippers in my shop!