Little House on the Prairie Sew Along: Rose’s Letter Blocks

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Little House on the Prairie Sew Along

Lily has just finished reading the last book in the Little House Series, The First Four Years.  This book is about the first four years of Laura and Almanzo’s marriage.  They had a baby girl named Rose shortly after they were wed.  Lily was very excited about this so she wanted to include a block to represent baby Rose.  Laura describes Rose as “an earnest, busy little girl with her picture books and letter blocks…”  Lily thought that making wooden letter blocks would be a good idea so that’s what we did!  When Rose wasn’t playing inside, she was roaming the prairie and I think that the background fabric represents that nicely.

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Here is a diagram with the basic cutting directions for each piece (1/4″ seam allowances are included).  We cut our letters with my Sizzix die cutter and fused them with HeatnBond Lite.  I stitched around the edge of the letters for Lily.

One more block is coming, hopefully right after Thanksgiving!  Who else is a little sad about seeing this sew along end?

 

 

Haberdashery Quilt

Haberdashery Quilt by Amy Friend

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen lots of “in progress” shots of this quilt. I just finished it up and couldn’t be happier with it!  My goal was to experiment with the diamond shape  in a minimalist design with a restrained color palette.  I drafted a simple paper pieced block with two diamonds of unequal size.  I used the Pure Elements Empire Yellow for the diamonds and the background is made up of Pure Elements Creme de la Creme and Linen White (I believe) as well as the two tone on tone white prints from Carolyn Friedlander’s Doe collection.  The various shades of white/off white in the background add interest and dimension.  I think that this layout creates a bit of an optical illusion too. Do you see it?  The rows look like that are at an angle though I assure you, they are square-I blocked it and everything!  It was something I noticed even in my initial sketch.  Funny, I couldn’t have created an optical illusion if I had tried to. It was clearly accidental.

The backing is Lotta Jansdotter’s Bergen in Myer Yellow from Mormor.  It’s nearly the perfect color match plus I love the similar minimalist feel.  I particularly love this front/back combo.

Haberdashery Quilt by Amy Friend

Normally, I don’t decide on my quilting until the quilt is well underway but the plan for this quilt was a tight grid right from the start.  The lines are spaced about 1/2″ apart.  I used a 50 weight Aurifil #2021.  The quilting is by no means perfect but I am pretty happy with the consistency in the spacing, the straightness of the lines and lack of shifting.  I took this photo with light on one side only and it really  highlights the amazing texture that the tight grid achieves!

Haberdashery Quilt by Amy Friend

My mom often helps me name my quilts and this one is no exception.  We both saw ties in the quilt, though that was certainly not my intent.  I thought of playing off that idea and she suggested Haberdashery. I love the word for this quilt because in America, the word means a shop that sells men’s accessories, such as ties.  In the UK, it means a shop that sells sewing notions. I love the fact that the name is associated both with ties and sewing.

The finished quilt measures 49″ x 56″.

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Interlock in Modern Patchwork

Interlock by Amy Friend

I have another new quilt to share today. I was quite busy over the late spring to summer period but only now able to show all these projects.  This quilt is called Interlock. It’s a jelly roll friendly pattern that I made here using Persimmon by BasicGrey for Moda. I used Warm and Plush batting.  Have you tried it before? It’s a new product that I found while at spring market. It’s like White and Warm but is 50% more plush. I wanted to use it to make quilting more pronounced. Here I used a fairly tight meander in the negative space and left the interlocking prints unquilted so they popped. It would certainly make for a satisfyingly warm bed quilt too. It’s a little harder to use because it’s heavier and thicker so it adds to the weight of your quilt as you are quilting it. It also throws a lot more lint during the quilting. I think I will use this batting on my bed quilt whenever I finish it….

Interlock by Amy Friend

I love the way this quilt looks in Persimmon but I think that the pattern is very versatile and could look great in so many fabrics. I look forward to seeing more variations of it.

Interlock by Amy Friend

 

You can find the pattern in Modern Patchwork Winter 2105 issue.  I like how they styled this photo of my quilt!

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Camper Paper Pieced Pattern

Camper by Amy Friend

I just designed this Camper block for my bee mate in the Cocorico Bee.  She asked for travel themed blocks and when pressed for a color preference, suggested turquoise. I had a lot of fun customizing this camper with text print stripes that give the look of stickers that people slap on their vehicles as travel keepsakes.  And I used the umbrella print to mimic curtains in the window.

Camper by Amy Friend

I have put the pattern in my Etsy and Craftsy shops in case you’d like to make one yourself!

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Scraps, Inc. and Twinkle

Twinkle by Amy Friend

 

I was so excited to be invited to contribute to Scraps, Inc., a collaborative book published by Lucky Spool. Working on this book was a wonderful experience with lots of collaboration so I truly felt part of the process. And I was honored to be in such good company. Contributors to this book are: Alex Ledgerwood, Allison Harris, Amy Ellis, Amy Smart, April Rosenthal, Beth Vassalo, Camille Roskelley, Faith Jones, Jeni Baker, Kati Spencer, Lee Heinrich, Melissa Lunden, Sherri McConnell and Susan Beal. I bet you can all find one of your favorite quilters in that line up.  I know I can.

Twinkle by Amy Friend

My quilt is named Twinkle and is, you guessed it, paper pieced. I arrived at this “new to me” color scheme through the inspirational mood board provided by Lucky Spool at the beginning of the process. I quite like the colors but didn’t have enough of them in my stash so I asked my guild, the SMQG, for contributions. Several of the members were kind enough to bring me scraps in these colors. I used so many different prints in this quilt! I have to say, that made it really fun to piece. I didn’t get bored even though I worked on this quilt for weeks.  There was a method to my madness. I sorted my scraps into 7 color groups and then assigned each color to a section of my paper pieced foundation. But it was so fun picking from each pile to assemble the blocks.

Twinkle by Amy Friend

I threw in some fussy cuts here and there including little bicycles and foxes.  And I used some of my favorite text prints too.  The resulting pattern has small dark charcoal pinwheels where the wedges meet at one end and light grey pinwheels at the other.  I quilted with diagonal lines set 1/2″ apart.
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Lucky Spool is offering this book at 30% off right now using the code “SCRAPS30.” Enter that code where it says “Coupon Code” at the time of check out.  The code will expire on 12/1/2014 and can only be used on this title.  The discount is taken off the original price of $26.95.

photo courtesy ©Lucky Spool Media, LLC.

photo courtesy ©Lucky Spool Media, LLC.

Scraps, Inc. is full of beautiful quilts by talented quilters and designers. My favorite picture in the whole book is this one–and it’s not because my quilt is in it! It’s because the four quilts look so pretty together and yet so different from one another. I think that’s where the shared mood board and color guidance really came into play. One of my favorite quilts in the book is Sunset Tiles by Jeni Baker which you can see here on the bottom right.

I hope you will pick up a copy and do some scrap busting. I know that’s a New Year’s resolution I often hear among quilters and the New Year is almost here!

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Just For You Blog Hop

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Quite awhile ago now, I was invited to submit a project for Just for You: Selfish Sewing Projects from Your Favorite Sew Can She Bloggers: 24 Simply Stylish Projects
compiled by Sarah Markos and Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield of SewCanShe. The book is a collection of selfish sewing projects like purses, totes, skirts, tops, scarves, etc. by some of your favorite bloggers. The projects are arranged into 12 chapters for each month of the year so you can sew along with the book throughout the year. I, however, encourage you to skip right to December…or start with this calendar year since December is nearly here. Why? Well, my project is in the December chapter!

Mini Dresden Coin Purse by Amy Friend

I made this Mini Dresden Coin Purse featuring Bijoux by Bari J for Art Gallery Fabrics, Quilter’s Linen by Robert Kaufman, a zipper from Zipit and interfacing and adhesives from ThermOWeb.  The project was inspired by a free pattern I designed for a Scalloped Dresden Bag. Later on, my friend Kerry and I arranged for a swap and she asked me for a mini version of that bag. While working out the scale, I inadvertently went way too small and turned my first attempt into an adorable change purse. And that is how I arrived at this pattern!  It is the perfect chance to use some of those precious tiny scraps you have hoarded because you just can’t throw them away. You can turn them into dresden blades and make this sweet change purse for yourself.

Stash Books is offering a copy of Just For You to one of my readers. If you are in the U.S. you will receive an actual book. If you are an international winner, you will receive credit to purchase the eBook version at ctpub.com.  You can enter to win by liking my During Quiet Time Facebook page or leaving any comment. You can purchase the book on Amazon.

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Make sure you click through the other posts in the blog hop to view other projects from the book!

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Free Motion Quilting For Beginners-Book Review

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Molly Hanson has authored a book called Free Motion Quilting For Beginners; and those who think they can’t. Molly is on the ThermOWeb design team with me and asked if she could forward me a pdf version of her book to review.

I think that this is a great book that offers exactly what claims to offer.  It’s a book for those just beginning to free motion quilt on a domestic machine who are worried that they can’t do it and need a push. If that describes you, you will be encouraged by Molly throughout the book to give it a try. I have been free motion quilting on my domestic machine for about 5 years now so I don’t place myself in the beginner category but remember well what it was like for me learning. I agree with many of the tips that Molly passes on about practice, proper machine placement, basting, and the difference between practicing on small samples and on an actual quilt with size, bulk and weight. She has a comprehensive section about the dreaded subject of tension and some good trouble shooting tips as well. I disagree with her on the subject of quilting gloves. She doesn’t care for them while I find that they help me immensely! I mentioned this to her at market, where I had the pleasure of meeting her, and she agrees that she is probably in the minority here. She blames it on the hot Florida temperatures.  I certainly don’t have the same trouble here in New England!  I like that she doesn’t recommend lots of unnecessary tools or accessories for free motion quilting. Likewise, I don’t feel the need for lots of quilting gadgets so I was happy to see that she expressed the same opinion.

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In addition to the “how to” information discussed above, Molly also includes some quilted projects in her book. They are good for the person who wants to practice quilting and needs a reason, a project, and some guidance. There are some pouches and bags and a couple of larger quilts too. My favorite project is the Chipped Plates Placemat project. I think it is the most creative!

The forward is written by Angela Walters, a friend of Molly’s. If you are familiar with Angela’s quilting books, I think you will find that Molly has a similar “go for it,” “be fearless” spirit and is a cheerleader for those giving free motion quilting a shot. The book makes free motion quilting seem very approachable and possible. I think it will give you the feeling that you can do it and are ready to give it a try.

The book is already available for sale. You can purchase a copy right here.

Follow the blog hop:
1. Martingale http://blog.shopmartingale.com/ November 11th
2. Amanda Jean http://crazymomquilts.blogspot.com November 13th
3. Amy Friend http://duringquiettime.com November 14th
4. Angela Walters http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com November15th
5. Juliet van der Heijden The Tartankiwi November 17th
6. Lori Kennedy http://theinboxjaunt.com November 19th
7. Cindy Weins http://www.liveacolorfullife.net November 20th
8. Thermoweb http://thermoweb.com/blog/ November 21st

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Sherri Lynn Wood to Visit New England

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I have been working to bring some speakers to New England.  All the good MQG stuff seems to happen in places like Texas and Utah and it would be nice to have some more local workshops without the heavy travel fees!  I have arranged for Sherri Lynn Wood to visit our guild, the Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild and we would like to invite you to reserve a spot as well!
Sherri will be visiting the Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild on Sunday, May 3, 2015 for a 7 hour workshop at the Old Town Hall, 491 Main Street, West Newbury, MA .  The workshop will run from 9 am to 5 pm with an hour break for lunch.  Lunch is be included in your workshop fee and will be catered.

The workshop we chose is Bias Strip Curves, described by Sherri below:

Bias Strip Curves
12761766865_224ceaea82_qIn this workshop you will learn to master the innovative improvisational technique of bias-strip piecing on the curve, with tips on how to flatten internal bubbles in the patchwork when they arise, and how to utilize the technique in both traditional and improvisational patchwork compositions. This is an advanced, original technique that takes time to master but it’s definitely worth the effort. Just imagine the possibilities! Most suitable for intermediate and advanced skill levels.

Sherri’s teaching focuses on improvisational process and technique and she has been sharing her love of that process for over 20 years now.  She also has a new book coming out that she hopes to have in hand in time for our workshop. It can be preordered on Amazon:

This is a unique opportunity to work with Sherri here in New England and I hope you will jump at the chance!
The registration will be first come first serve to the first 20 people interested.  At this point, we have just 4 spots left, however, I would like to have a wait list as well.  To secure your spot, email amybfriend at gmail dot com and state your intention to register for the workshop and mention any dietary needs you might have (vegetarian, vegan, allergies, etc.).  I will reply to confirm that your spot is secure.
The workshop cost is $100 (including lunch).  You can write out a check to the Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild and give it to me at a guild meeting or send it to her attention at PO Box 774, West Newbury, MA 01985.  If your payment has not been received by January 31, 2015, you will lose your spot and we will sell the ticket to someone on the waitlist.
If you have any questions, please contact me.  More information will be forthcoming regarding supplies and other details as the event date gets closer.

318 Patchwork Patterns Blog Hop

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Today is my stop on the 318 Patchwork Patterns blog hop!  This book containing paper pieced and appliqued designs by Kumiko Fujita was first published in Japan in 2005 and is now available in English thanks to World Book Media.  You can buy a copy of the book here.

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For my project, I choose to use three fruit blocks: the apple, the pear and the cherries.  I don’t particularly care for freezer paper style piecing and like to just simply foundation piece so I had to redraw portions of the apple and the pear in order to do that.  If you are familiar with paper piecing and block construction, this isn’t difficult to do.  My blocks are  6″ square.  I made 2 of each blocks and as a personal challenge, I didn’t allow myself to repeat any fabric selections (except for the background fabric).  It was tricky to come up with enough browns in my stash to not repeat in any of the stems!  I had made 5 of the six blocks before I decided to use the cute Lori Holt kitchen print for sashing. Once I decided on that, I chose to make one pair of cherries pink to bring in the pinks from the print. It makes for a very cheerful runner.

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I used a simple stitch on my Janome for the quilting, following Amanda Jean’s tutorial for “honeycomb quilting”. It was a quick way to lend some all over texture to the table runner.

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For the back, I used this Retro Kitchen print ordered from Sew Me A Song. Sew Me A Song is a great resource for fabrics that are fun to use in paper piecing projects like this one.  You can also find the book there.

If you would like to see some more projects from the book, check out the following:

October 20: Kerryfrom http://verykerryberry.blogspot.com
October 22: Penny from http://sewtakeahike.typepad.com
October 24: Angela from http://cuttopieces.blogspot.com
October 27: Amy from http://nanacompany.typepad.com
October 29: Amber from http://oneshabbychick.typepad.com
October 31: Latifah from www.thequiltengineer.com
November 3: Charise from http://charisecreates.blogspot.com
November 5: Leila from http://wheretheorchidsgrow.blogspot.com
November 7: Amy from http://duringquiettime.com
November 10: Faith from www.freshlemonquilts.com
November 12: Caroline from www.sewcanshe.com
November 14: Rashida from http://iheartlinen.typepad.com

World Book Media is offering a copy of this book to one lucky reader! Enter below. International entries welcome.

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Thanks for visiting today!

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Snowflake Paper Pieced Pattern

Snowflake Paper Pieced Pattern by Amy Friend

I’m just popping in quickly today to let you know that I have updated my Etsy and Craftsy shops to include this snowflake block that I designed a couple of years ago for Fat Quarterly.

At that time, I used 6 of these snowflakes, 6″ square each, to make a bed sized pillow cover.  You can see my project post here.

Snowflake Paper Pieced Pattern by Amy Friend

I decided to now offer the pattern in multiple sizes.  The 6″ size is perfect for use on smaller holiday items, like stockings.  There is also a 9″ version, which I just made to include in my paper pieced Christmas/winter quilt.  And a 12″ block that could also be used for as a quilt block or for a pillow cover with a border.

I hope that you find this pattern versatile and fun. It’s an easy paper pieced block, suitable for confident beginners.  Advanced paper piecers can make it challenging by using a directional text print for the background (palm to forehead!).

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Primrose Square Quilt Pattern

Primrose Square Quilt Pattern by Amy Friend for BasicGrey

While at quilt market, I was able to snap this picture of Primrose Square, my most recent quilt pattern designed for BasicGrey using their new collection, Fresh Cut. The collection is described as “fun corals, tart citrons, sweet pinks and grassy greens creating a bouquet of color and charm.”  The pattern is made up of simple squares and HST units, suitable for a beginner but fun for those with more advanced skills as well.  The flowers are oversize giving the quilt a playful feel.  I enjoyed designing it and hope many of you will enjoy sewing it!

Primrose Square

Primrose Square Quilt Pattern and Fresh Cut fabric will be available in January which is really right around the corner, isn’t it?  I mean, in my world, November and December pass so quickly in a blur!

Not to jump way ahead, but I can picture some adorable Easter dresses made from this collection and polka dot ties for little boys!

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Sweet Tea Kit on Craftsy

Sweet Tea Pattern by Amy Friend for BasicGrey

I just wanted to pop in and let you know that my Sweet Tea quilt pattern has been kitted and is available on Craftsy right now. You can buy it here on sale for $76.79 which is a 20% savings. It’s such a fun quilt to make!

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Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Dove in the Window

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Dove in the Window

Lily has just finished reading These Happy Golden Years.  As I mentioned before, this book describes Laura and Almanzo’s courtship and ends with their marriage.  Lily was quite swept away by the love story.  In the book, Almanzo builds their home and sets it all up before Laura sees it.  At Caroline’s direction, Almanzo has spread out some of Laura’s things like a checkered tablecloth and her Dove in the Window quilt.  Laura pieced the Dove in the Window quilt as a girl while Mary was piecing her Nine Patch.

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Here are the cutting instructions for this traditional block to finish at 14.” If you do a quick search of Dove in the Window, you will find tutorials if you care to make a different size block or need further instructions.  The HST units finish at 2 1/2″. We cut our pairs of fabric for the HST at 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ each.  This gave us lots of room to trim down to a 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ unit.

I know that many of you will ask about the cute floral.  It’s a Japanese print and you can buy it here.

We are on to The First Four Years  now, the final book in the Little House on the Prairie series.  We will have two more blocks to share next month, bringing us to a total of 20 blocks for this quilt.  Then the assembly will begin!

I have to say once again how touched I am by the number of people who have sent me private emails letting me know how much they are enjoying the sew along. I am excited by the fact that we have encouraged some adults to read the series! And I am thrilled to be in on secret plans for many Little House quilts that will be gifted this Christmas. I never thought that so many people would enjoy this sew along. I just started it to encourage Lily to read my favorite series of all time and to have a little one on one time with her.  The rest has been a bonus.

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Kite Tails in Mochi

Kite Tails by Amy Friend

My original Kite Tails quilt, made in an assortment of prints from the first Cotton + Steel collection, appealed to the ladies at Cotton + Steel so they asked me to make another one using Rashida Coleman-Hale’s new collection called Mochi.  I love it in this collection as well.  I never make the same quilt twice but I still had fun making this quilt a second time since the fabrics were all new to me. It was fun to get a chance to become familiar with each print as I sewed the kite tails.  I definitely have a couple of favorites ear marked for yardage purchases!  One thing I like about this new version is that I used even the lightest print in the collection which is so similar to the background solid.  When you are up close you can see the kite tails but from a distance, you do not and instead see larger areas of negative space.

It was fun to see this quilt at market and to meet the designers in person.  They are such a great group of ladies-so talented and business savvy too.  I was lucky enough to snag a bundle of their lawns and their canvas prints at Sample Spree. I can’t wait to cut into them once inspiration strikes.  I also have some Mochi leftover that will have to find its way into a project I can keep!

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World Without End Variation

World Without End Variation by Amy Friend

I just returned home from Quilt Market in Houston, Texas.  Sizzix debuted their new die, “World Without End,” at market and asked me to design a modern quilt using the die for their booth.  A quick Google search will show you a broad range of World Without End quilts, most of them more traditional.  I spent a bit of time playing around with different designs and settled on this, what appears to be interlocking rings.  I set the strip off with negative space.  I quilted in concentric circles using Aurifil thread, beginning in the center of the strip, the deepest orange section, which is not the center of the quilt.  I like the added movement that the quilting provides as well as the texture that blends in the heavy piecing with lots of seams and the negative space.  The Kona colors I used here are Silver, Graphite, Charcoal, Sunny, School Bus, and Kumquat.

World Without End Variation by Amy Friend

I used a Madrona Road print for the backing.  I like how the punch of orange on the back livens it up a bit.

World Without End Variation Detail by Amy FriendWhen I start circular quilting, I like to cut a perfect circle out of contact paper or freezer paper and then adhere the circle to the quilt and stitch around it.  Then I remove the paper circle and use the guide on my walking foot , set to about 1″ and stitch the remaining circles.

World Without End Variation by Amy Friend

I’m happy to be able to share this quilt and die with you now!  It’s available for purchase here and this quilt pattern is offered for free right here. The finished quilt measures 60″ square.  Each pieced unit is just 3″ finished!

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Craft Fail; Book Review

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I’m so glad that I was invited to review an advance copy of Craft Fail; When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong by Heather Mann. I spent two evenings reading the book and sharing the tales of craft failures with my husband and we both got quite a few laughs!

I think anyone who crafts or cooks or makes anything handmade has had their share of craft fails!  Heather was a genius to turn those fails into successes by sharing stories of failures on her blog at CraftFail.com and now in this book. I mean really, if you are going to fail, there is now the hope that you can fail well enough to make your failure story a success, right?

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The story that brought tears to my husband’s eyes is found on page 90 in the “Food Fails” section. A woman who was attempting to pound chickn breasts for a recipe thought that there must be a better way.  She tried running over them with her car!  The bag popped and the chicken breast flew across the driveway.  They ended up with pizza for dinner and her son captured this on video to share with his father. I think my husband got a particular kick out of it because he imagined coming home to this situation.

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One fail that I can completely identify with as a quilter/sewist is pictured above. I have stitched through countless plastic decorative pin heads, a tape measure, etc.  And then there are the similar instances of quilting and accidentally quilting something onto the back of the quilt or quilting over the folded edge of the quilt without realizing it.  My readers will all identify.

My favorite chapter is the one devoted to Martha Stewart called “Martha Made It.”  I would say that 75% of my fails are Martha fails and could fit right into this chapter.  My fails have not been following her crafts so much as her recipes.  I have had so many Martha recipe fails that I only wish I knew about Craft Fails sooner. I could have submitted and had some truly famous failures.  At the moment, I am wracking my brain to think of specifics but with no luck. Rest assured though, my Martha recipe fails are famous with my husband and mother (who also can’t remember specifics!). In case you were curious, the other 25% of my fails are frosting related. We have had many a birthday cake secured with toothpicks to keep the layers from sliding.

This book is definitely a fun read.  It’s fun for kids to flip through too just note that there is a Santa spoiler on page 64.

I hope you get a chance to read a copy of this book! It became available on October 21 and you can find it on Amazon.

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Utopia Giveaway from the Fat Quarter Shop

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This morning I am hosting a giveaway from The Fat Quarter Shop for a fat quarter bundle of Frances Newcombe’s Fantasy City Fervor Utopia for Art Gallery Fabrics! The giveaway is open internationally. I will announce the winner next Wednesday, 10/29, by updating this post.  This collection is so full of color.  My favorite prints are on the bottom row; the center print and the one on the left. I love those! Art Gallery Fabrics has put together a great look book using this collection that might inspire you. Check it out here.  What would you make if you won?

A big thank you to the Fat Quarter Shop for sharing this collection with one of my readers.  Good luck!

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Irish Chain Variation Complete

Irish Chain Variation by Amy Friend

I have finished my Irish Chain Variation!  As I mentioned in a recent post, this quilt was inspired by an Amish quilt on the back cover of the book A Gallery of Amish Quilts.  The original quilt was all yellow and blue.  I obviously went with white and black and then broke into the negative space with reds in an ombre progression. I had been calling this a Nine Patch Variation because that’s what I thought it was…then I read the caption on the original quilt and it is an Irish Chain.  So I guess I will now call this my Irish Chain Variation.

Irish Chain Variation by Amy FriendThe fabrics used are Kona Pepper and Kona White, along with various shades of red to salmon in Free Spirit Solids.  The finished dimensions are approximately 63″ x 75″.

Irish Chain Variation by Amy Friend

The quilting was done in irregularly spaced but straight (as possible) lines to form a diagonal grid. I debated thread color a lot. I ended up going with a soft gray Aurifil which blends well in the white and red areas but certainly shows in the black. I didn’t want to change threads and do freemotion quilting inside the black shapes because it just wasn’t the look I was going for.  I sort of like the overlay of lines.  It adds another dimension to the quilt.

Irish Chain Variation by Amy Friend

I chose to use the solid white for the binding, a foolhardy choice, I know. But I like how it blends with all those setting triangles.

Irish Chain Variation by Amy Friend

And here is one last picture for fun.

Thanks for visiting.

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Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Chalkboard

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Little House on the Prairie; Chalkboard

Lily and I have been reading These Happy Golden Years for the past couple of weeks and are nearly through.  I have been reading most of this one aloud now that Lily is back to school. She claims that it is her favorite book so far, primarily because Almanzo and Laura are falling in love.  So, you can bet that our second block for this book will have something to do with their courtship.  In this book, Laura has her first two experiences as teacher.  The money she makes helps to send Mary to college and pay for an organ as well as material for a new dress.

We decided to make a chalkboard. I had been thinking it might be fun to write Laura’s name on the chalkboard but I thought it might be too much stitching for Lily so I suggested we write ABC.  She surprised me by saying that she thought we should write Laura’s name and then ABC and 123.  I was delighted that we had the same plan in mind and never let on that I had been thinking it too or she would likely have changed her mind!

This was Lily’s first time hand embroidering.  As it turns out, she absolutely loves hand stitching so I have started her on a hand stitched label for the back of the quilt.  She wants to do more hand stitching asap.

The chalkboard should be cut to 9 1/2″ x 11 1/2″.  We cut it oversize and drew the letters out in chalk.  Then she stitched them using an embroidery hoop.  When she was finished, we cut it down to size.  Next, we added a strip of “wood” to either side measuring 9 1/2″ x 1″. Then we added “wood” to the top and bottom, 1″ x 12 1/2″.  Next we added the background fabric to the right and left measuring 10 1/2″ x 1 1/2″; then to the top and bottom measuring 2 1/2″x 14 1/2″.

Cutting Chart

Blackboard:  9 1/2″ x 11 1/2″

Wood frame:  cut 2 measuring 9 1/2″ x 1″, cut 2 measuring 1″ x 12 1/2″

Border: cut 2 measuring 10 1/2″ x 1 1/2″, cut 2 measuring 2 1/2″x 14 1/2″

We will be back later this month with block 18!  To find directions for all the other blocks, scroll way down on my right side bar until you come to the Search function.  Type in “Little House on the Prairie” and you will find them all.

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Janome Walking Foot Guide Fix

Janome Walking Foot Guide Fix by Amy Friend

I have been working on my straight line/crosshatch quilting and am constantly frustrated by my Janome walking foot guide.  It will not stay put.  The bulk of the quilt easily loosens it and the metal piece holding the bar is so thin that it bends easily and further loosens the guide.  My solution has been to tape the foot in place.  In this instance though, I wanted to adjust the spacing of my lines so I was constantly taking the tape off and replacing it and going nuts.  Apparently, I was complaining a lot because it got my husband’s attention.  We started talking about solutions and I mentioned that it would be good to have some sort of rubber piece with a hole in it that I could slide onto the bar.  He immediately thought of O rings and ran to the hardware store to get some.  We found that doubling up on the rings adds to the stability.  Slide two O rings onto the bar. Put the bar in place.  Slide two more O rings onto the bar and snug them up as close as possible.  It’s not a perfect solution but it is so much better than tape!

Nine Patch Variation WIP

Nine Patch Variation by Amy Friend

 

I have been working on a new quilt recently and thought I would share a couple of pictures here that I have previously shared only on Instagram. This is the top as it was about to be basted.  Honestly, it’s pretty square!  The angle was just really off because I was standing on a chair trying to get a shot of it with my phone camera.

The quilt was inspired by a two color (yellow and blue) Amish quilt. In my verions, I broke into the negative space with my ombre design elements and am really happy with the way it worked!  The black and white are Kona solids and the ombre shades are Freespirit Solids.

Nine Patch Variation by Amy Friend

I got the quilt basted two nights ago and hope to find time today to start quilting. I want to do an all over cross hatch like I did on my recent mini, but the lines will be further apart and perhaps irregular this time (not evenly spaced but straight).

I’ll show pictures of the finished quilt when it is complete.  Enjoy your day!

 

Merlin Costume

Merlin Costume by Amy Friend

My son approached me with a 3 inch tall plastic figure of Merlin, the main character in a series of novels he is enjoying, and asked if I could make him a Merlin costume for Halloween. I couldn’t say no….it was going to be cool!

For the basis of the cloak, I used McCall’s pattern M5952 cut to a size 10 with about 4 inches cut off the length to prevent tripping while Trick or Treating.  If you choose to try this pattern, I would say that it runs big.  Timothy normally wears a size 12-14.  I did not put on the hood and instead used bias tape to finish the neck.  Rather than having it tie at the neck, I added Velcro. It’s less likely to come undone and smoother under his beard.  (The beard is purchased and the hat was a party favor from a magic themed party my daughter went to last fall.)

The fabric I used for the cape is polyester and the stars are a metallic poly/cotton blend.

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I didn’t really care to edge stitch around countless star appliques.  I used them all over the front, back, and sleeves of the cape and with all that stopping and turning it would have taken a long time. I don’t like to spend too, too long on costumes since they aren’t worn for long or many times.  I decided that HeatnBond UltraHold was the way to go.  Because you don’t need to use a high heat, it worked well with these polyester materials. I fused it to the back of the metallic and then sent it through my Sizzix to cut multiple stars, about 4 at a time. I used the Stacked Star Die.

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Then I simply fused them into the cloak.  They were easy to do and added a lot of pizzazz!  No sewing is needed with the UltraHold.

I’m also sharing this post on the Thermoweb blog today.

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Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Shirt

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Welcome to Block 16 of the Little House on the Prairie Sew Along.  This block is the second to correspond to Little Town on the Prairie.  That means that we have 2 more books to read and 4 more blocks to make before assembling the quilt.  If you are new to the sew along, we will be making 20 block.  My 8 year old daughter and I are reading the Little House series and designing easy to sew blocks to represent key elements from the stories.  She is choosing all the fabrics. I am cutting and helping her with the pinning.  She is doing all the sewing.  You are welcome to join us!

Shirt

This is a shirt block.  In Little Town on the Prairie, Laura works for a time helping a woman in town sew men’s shirts.  She earns money which is used to send Mary to college.

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The block is simple but introduces some new sewing skills for the beginner; pivoting, turning and edge-stitching.

To make this block, you must cut two pieces 7″ wide x 14 1/2″ high for the two sides of the shirt.  The strip in the middle is 1 1/2″ x 14 1/2″.  You can cut it on the bias to make the transition more obvious.  It will add more interest to the block.  The print Lily chose is a bit busy but it still helped.

Next, download the pattern here. Cut 4 collar pieces from pattern C and two pocket pieces from pattern piece F.

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To assemble, Sew the 7″ x 14 1/2″ piece to the long strip and then to the other 7″ x 14 1/2″ piece. Press and then edgestitch down either side of the front placket. Set aside. The front of the shirt is done.

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With right sides together, stitch 1/4″ along the edge of the collar, leaving the upper edge open for turning. Clip the corner. Turn and press. Then top stitch 1/4″ from the edges. Line the collar up with the upper edge of the shirt and stitch along the upper edge. I purposely did not overlap the collar at the top to reduce bulk in the seam when this block is sashed.

Next, sew along three sides of the pocket, clip corners, and turn through the opening at the top. Fold under the top, 1/4″. Press and edge stitch along the upper edge and then stitch 1/4″ from the top.   Place the pocket where desired and pin.

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Stitch around the 3 sides of the pocket using a 1/4″ foot, leaving the top open.

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You are left with a shirt block with collars that can be lifted up and down and a real pocket.  How fun will it be to have a quilt with a real pocket in it for a treasure?

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We plan on attaching buttons, maybe to the collar but definitely to the front. We are waiting till the quilt is assembled and quilted and then we will add those buttons, along with the buttons for the sheep’s eyes.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this block!  Sadly, there is no cute picture of Lily with this block because she is not feeling well.

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Curious

Curious by Amy Friend

As I made my Melon Ice table runner recently, I was reminded of how much I like the diamond shape. I wanted to explore it a little more in a minimalist design using large scale piecing.  I drew several diamond designs and settled on this one.  While it is a simple design, I contemplated the placement of the diamond quite a bit.  The finished mini measures 20″ x 20″ and I used Art Gallery Pure Elements Solids.
Curious by Amy Friend

I quilted using a 50 weight Aurifil thread, in a diagonal grid, with lines spaced just over a 1/4″ apart.

Curious by Amy Friend

The texture is really amazing.  It was worth the three solid hours of quilting.

It was a fun exercise for me and I think I will work on a few similar projects because I enjoyed it!  I am naming this piece Curious after a comment made by a friend on IG.

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Welcome Gotham Quilts (with Coupon Code!!)

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Today I am happy to welcome the newest sponsor of During Quiet Time, Gotham Quilts.  Gotham Quilts is a new on-line shop with plans to open a brick and mortar store in Manhattan next year.

Gotham Quilts is run by Andrea Deal and Ivete Tecedor.  They met when Ivete took a quilting class from Andrea and they have been friends ever since.  They would talk about bringing a modern quilting store to NYC and now they have!

The shop is truly appealing to the modern quilter.  They have stocked their shelves with American Made solids, Cotton+Steel, Anna Maria Horner, Art Gallery Fabrics, and more.  In addition to stocking quilting cottons, they carry Lawn and Voile for modern garment sewing.
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I’m particularly taken with these shades of red in the American Made bundle of reds.  They feel very “fall in New England” to me.

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I don’t think you could ever stash enough of this print.

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I feel the same way about this print.

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Cleta by the Art Gallery In House Studio has just arrived. It’s a collection inspired by bicycles!  I particularly like that print on the bottom right.

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They have a nicely curated collection of patterns from your favorite designers too, including Carolyn Friedlander’s Social Tote that is on my to-do list.

As an added bonus, all orders over $75 ship for free in the US.

Gotham Quilts is offering a coupon code to my readers!  Use the coupon code QUIETTIME and you will receive 15% off your whole order (one time use only, per person).  Go shop!

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A Sense of Place Mini

Plum Island mini by Amy Friend

My guild, the Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild, is participating in a mini quilt swap with the Northampton MQG.  The theme is “A Sense of Place.”  I am a New England girl through and through and love the ocean. I don’t necessarily care to go in the water or on the water and I don’t love it in the middle of the summer with all the tourists either.  But off season, it’s bliss.
Plum Island mini by Amy Friend

I attempted to capture the feeling of my favorite beach, Plum Island.  The linen seemed perfect for the sand and I had quite an assortment of blues in my stash to choose from for the ocean and sky.  I scissor cut the curves. It was all improvisationally pieced.  I used a rotary cutter just once to make the horizon line perfectly straight.

Plum Island mini by Amy Friend

I started quilting at the bottom. I stitched the wavy lines using my walking foot and then switched to my free motion quilting foot to make all the tiny pebbles on the beach where the tide had washed them up in groups.

Plum Island mini by Amy Friend

The ocean was quilted with wavy lines that became less wavy and spaced closer together as they approached the horizon line. It was my attempt at a bit of perspective.

Plum Island mini by Amy Friend

I used ombre fabric for the sky and inserted a wisp of a cloud. I quilted the sky to suggest a little breeze blowing the cloud away.

I used two different Aurifil threads for my quilting from the Pat Bravo collection.  They were such a perfect match. I’m so glad that I picked them up at Massdrop!

The finished mini measures 17 1/2″ x 21 1/2″.  I could have sworn that the rules were 22″ x 22″ but wouldn’t you know, I just checked and they are 20″ x 20.” I am hoping my inch and a half can be overlooked but otherwise, I will keep it!

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Gertie Sews Vintage Casual; Book Review


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I was sent an advance copy of Gertie Sews Vintage Casual which is now available on Amazon and in your local bookstores.  This book is written by Gretchen Hirsch, author of Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing and the blog blogforbettersewing.com.

Gretchen writes that she has always been interested in the New Look style introduced in 1947 and lasting into the late 50s.  This period marks the innovation of American sportswear; comfortable coordinates reflecting a more relaxed approach to dressing.  She likes how the origins of sportswear coincided with the feminist movement in women’s history.  There are occasional blurbs in the book about women’s history, such as the introduction of pants for women.  Her goal in this book is not to duplicate the fashions of the period with accuracy but rather uses them for inspiration and takes advantage of the fabrics and techniques that are now available and may not have been in that time period.  Initially, there is quite a bit of information about the time period, popular culture and the style she is writing about.

Following the discussion of the New Look or American Style, there are several chapters that include information that can be easily transferred to any style of garment sewing.  There is a chapter on Materials and Supplies that covers fabric types, supplies, interfacing, trims, etc.  There are two chapters covering Skills for Wovens and Skills for Knits. I found the later very informative since I haven’t sewn with knits nearly enough to feel comfortable with them.  There is also a chapter discussing Pattern Making and how to make adjustments in patterns.  I also found that chapter helpful too since I am petite and often need to adapt patterns to fit me properly.

Finally, there are a number of projects.  Each project has full size patterns in the back.  Because the book is spiral bound, it is a great workbook to have out on your sewing table while you are working on a project.

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I think that this Wrap Dress is the pattern that I would be most likely to attempt. I think it’s a very wearable style and rather timeless.  But there are a whole range of things to try from a bomber jacket to a knit pencil skirt and even pedal pushers!

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National Sewing Month

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It’s National Sewing and Quilting Month and the Fat Quarter Shop is celebrating with a free heart pattern and a challenge to bloggers.  First, for the pattern.  You can download Color of My Heart for free right here.  I know that there are lots of heart lovers out there so I expect it will be popular.

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Now, for the challenge. First off, bloggers were asked to fill in the blank, “I love quilting because….”  Well, the first things that popped into my mind such as “it keeps me sane” and “it satisfies my creativity” were already taken so I kept thinking.  I decided that one thing I love about quilting is that it justifies my stash!  I love fabric. I love collecting fabric.  And when you quilt, it makes sense to have a stash!  You constantly need just the right text print, or just the right textured solid, etc.  After all, this view, cluttered as it may seem, gives me so much pleasure.

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Yes, you won’t find me folding my fabric on comic book boards.  I like to feel free to rummage and pull things out.  Believe it or not, while it might not look organized, I know where everything is!

We have also been asked to answer some questions.

FQS:  How did you start quilting/sewing?

My mom taught me to sew when I was a little girl. The first project that I can remember was a hand stitched felt Pooh bear made when I was about five.  I went on to learn to sew simple garments and made lots of baby clothes and simple skirts.  When I was married, my mom and I collaborated on my wedding dress.  I always thought that quilting sounded appealing and as a Little House on the Prairie fan, loved the romantic notion of sitting by the fire sewing nine patches.  But it wasn’t till I was at home with my children, after leaving my museum work, that I started reading blogs and getting into modern quilting.  I have been quilting for about 5-6 years.

FQS:  When was the first time you knew that you were a quilter/sewer?

I think that since I started sewing when I was so young, it has always played some role in my life.  It was a skill like cooking that just grew as I got older.  But I guess I knew I was a quilter when I decided I needed a dedicated sewing space in our house and turned our sunroom into my sewing room.

FQS:  Do you have any sewing/quilting horror storied or faux pas?

Sorry to be boring but not really.   I have had my share of annoyances like chain piecing only to find that my bobbin thread has run out or catching my quilt backing up in the quilting and needing to rip stitches but that’s about it.

FQS:  What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out in sewing/quilting?

I would suggest that you select projects that will teach you new skills.  And I also think that you need to become good friends with your seam ripper. It is important to take the time to rip out those mistakes and try again. It’s how we improve.

Tova by Amy Friend
And finally, the FQS asked us to make something we had never made before or using a new technique, etc.  I make clothes for my daughters but rarely for myself. I think it’s mostly because, until just recently, the selection of garment fabrics was so poor!  I decided to make myself a Tova and used a double gauze which I have never sewn on before.

I discovered that I love working with the double gauze!  It’s so nice for garment making because it has a little give so it makes easing a breeze.  It also feels so nice and soft. I love it and plan to use it again.  I am short, only 5 feet tall, so I always need to adjust patterns which is another reason I avoid sewing for myself.  But this worked out pretty well. I shortened the length by 2 1/2″ and the sleeves by about 1″.  I might adjust the width at the hips a little bit if I make another.

Tova by Amy Friend

And to leave you with a laugh, I tried to take a picture of myself wearing the shirt. I think I am glad that I usually sew quilts because this is ridiculous.

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Sew Fresh Fabrics Going Out of Business

Today, Peg is breaking the news that she is closing Sew Fresh Fabrics. I know so many of you are disappointed, as am I.  Sew Fresh was my first sponsor way back!  But it’s time, and Peg needs to move on to other things now.  I am happy for her.  It’s our loss!
Peg has this message to share:
After five years of fabric, fun and friends, I’ll be closing the online doors of Sew Fresh Fabrics. From the humble beginnings with Becca on Etsy to the dot.com store, it’s been a wonderful ride. But all good things must come to an end, chapters end, new ones begin. So now all the lovelies in stock need to find new homes. The selection is still amazing. Don’t miss out on your favorites.

Going out of Business


Stock it, stash it,
hoard it, it’s too pretty to pass up
 
use coupon code

“30OFF”

- out of stock items will be refunded
 – allow 3-5 business days for your order to ship (due to anticipated volume), no rush orders
 – some international orders will require shipping charges calculated. I will contact the buyer for payment arrangements.
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Melon Ice Runner in Prints

Melon Ice Runner by Amy Friend

I’ll be teaching a workshop this winter based on my Melon Ice Quilt Pattern.  I just finished this sample to bring with me, using my coveted stash of Anna Maria Horner fabrics.

Melon Ice by Amy Friend

If you remember, my original Melon Ice was a 72″ x 72″ quilt with large scale piecing and solids.  It was featured in American Quilter Magazine and the pattern is available in my Etsy and Craftsy shops as a pdf download.  When I made the original, I had so many quilt ideas for the single paper pieced block that I had designed.  I have been wanting to try them all out but it’s the same old story…too many ideas and not enough time!  I am happy to have fit in this project at least because I love the results!

Melon Ice Runner by Amy Friend

These blocks were made 50% smaller than the template included in the Melon Ice pattern.  My fabric placement is completely different.  I used a single fabric, Kona Oyster, for the squares and diamonds.  Then I placed the prints in such a way that it appears that the rings are interlocked or layered.

Melon Ice Runner by Amy Friend

I used an Alison Glass text print in charcoal for the binding which I just love!  I wanted something to compliment the darker print with pink flowers in the runner.

Melon Ice by Amy Friend quilting detail

I straight line quilted about a 1/4″ apart with Aurifil thread and a stitch length of 3.5.  I like the way it sort of negates the piecing lines.

I look forward to sharing this project and seeing how each quilter makes it his/her own.

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Penny’s Witch Costume


Witch Costume by Amy Friend

My 5 year old asked to be a witch for Halloween. It’s not the most creative costume idea but she has been mentioning it for at least the last two years when she has graciously agreed to wear costumes I already had in the house.  This year, I decided she would get a costume of her choice this year. And she chose witch!


Witch costume by Amy Friend

I used the Sally Dress as the basic pattern for the dress.  I did not add the large patch pockets and added several inches to the length. I cut the pattern for the longer sleeve length and at the sleeve hem, added an approximately 6″ ruffle made from some sheer synthetic fabric with metallic purple spiderwebs.  I can actually see that modification being made to this pattern to extend it into the winter, with velvet and velvet ruffles.  It would be quite pretty!

Witch Costume by Amy Friend
I thought that the Sally Dress would be good for a costume because it is a pull over style that she can pull right over a tshirt and leggings for the holiday parade at school.

Shoulder detail

Also, the little shoulder detail, when made out of a black Halloween costume material, feels like a witchy to me!

Witch Costume by Amy Friend

Her hat was purchased at JoAnn and then we added some of the metallic spiderwebs to the brim.  We discovered during this photoshoot that the hat blows right off her head in a little wind so we will add some ties before trick or treat!

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Selvage Whirlwind at the BAQS Exhibit

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I sent my Selvage Whirlwind quilt to hang as a part of the first BAQS exhibit at the AQS Quilt Week Show in Chattanooga.  I was so excited to see these pictures on Facebook. (Thank you Victoria Findlay Wolfe for kindly tagging me so that I saw them!!)  The photographer’s name is Trisha Priewe Frankland and I am so glad that she posted these pictures.

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The exhibit was juried but the quilts are not competing with each other due to the great diversity of quilts shown.  And we all got participation ribbons which is cool!  Why did I send my quilt? I like the group’s philosophy.  Read about it here.  

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Blackbird

Little House on the Prairie Blackbird Block,

Lily is back to school now which is putting a hamper on our sew along process!  She has been reading Little Town on the Prairie when she can and is a little more than half way through it.  She told me that she liked one chapter in particular where the blackbirds were eating the corn crop.  The Ingalls family was depending on the money from the corn crop to pay for Mary’s college.  Laura alerted her father to the damage when she went to pick corn one day.  He got out his shot gun and shot so many birds that they decided to start eating them.  One day, Ma made a chicken pie, substituting blackbirds for the chicken.  Lily really wanted to make a blackbird block.

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along,Blackbird

I  love her fabric choices.  She used the same background fabric that she used on her pumpkin block because it looks a bit like corn stalks which is perfect for the story.  I also like the Kona Papaya solid.

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This block uses templates.  Please remember to cut your templates with the fabric right side up and template right side up.  Look at the diagram on the pattern to figure out the direction of the pattern piece and order of assembly.

Download the free pattern templates here. Please remember that these patterns are free for personal use only. Do not use them for profit.

I hope you are enjoying the sew along!  I plan to share some readers blocks soon.  If you would like your blocks shared, please send me an email with a link or pictures.  My email is amybfriend at gmail dot com.

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Around the World Blog Hop

I was tagged last week in the Around the World Blog Hop by Jennifer from Never Just Jennifer. I hadn’t “met” Jennifer yet but after taking a look at her blog, I see that she is a New Englander like me! She lives in New Hampshire. So, to keep the chain going, I thought it would be fun to stay in New England for a bit.

I have nominated:

Laura from Little and Lots: I met Laura when she joined the Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild. She adds such a great spirit to the meetings, complimenting everyone’s work generously.   She describes herself as a “southerner marooned permanently north of Boston.”  Laura always comes dressed handmade–both sewn and knit.  She’s a great addition to the guild.

Next up is Kerry of KidGiddy. I met Kerry when I was asked to join her blog hop for her book, Tales to Stitch and Love. Most recently, I shared the scariest taxi ride of my life with her to the airport following spring market.  She also dropped by a recent SMQG meeting with her girls which was fun.

And last but not least is Judy from Sleeping Dog Quilts. I met Judy when she was a most gracious host and quilt holder for me at my trunk show for the Proper Bostonian Guild.  She also played along in the challenge I presented to that guild to create their own versions of my free Zakim bridge block. You can see the post here.

Visit their blogs next Monday to read their posts.

I was asked to answer the following questions:

1. What am I working on?
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3. Why do I write/create what I do?
4. How does my writing/creating process work?

What am I working on?

Let’s see…I have been busy sewing this summer but I can’t share the projects so I can only share some sneak peeks today.

Sizzix sneak peek

This is the color palette that I am using for a quilt I am working on for Sizzix.  It looks autumnal and modern to me. Do you agree?  I am sewing a quilt with a real modern flair using one of their brand new dies that will be released at fall market.

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This is the aftermath of a paper pieced quilt top I just finished.  It’s a version of my Kite Tails pattern sewn up in a new fabric line that will be released at market as well.

Lily wowWhat I have been able to share over the summer, is a fun project that I have been working on with my 8 year old daughter, Lily.  We have been reading the Little House on the Prairie series and I’ve been designing blocks based on each story that are appropriate for a beginning sewist.  She has chosen her own fabrics and we have sewn them together. I do the cutting and most of the pinning.  She does the sewing.  I’d like to invite you to join us!  I am calling it the Little House on the Prairie Sew Along and if you scroll down through past posts you will see that I am offering all the patterns for free, for your personal use only.  Please do not use them for profit.

In this picture, Lily is admiring her completed blocks.  She is saying “wow, wow, wow!”

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I suppose that is a question that someone further removed from my work could answer better. I know I try to do my own thing as much as possible.  I follow my own interests, techniques that I enjoy the most (usually paper piecing), and colors that I am drawn to.  I think my work tends to fall into the time consuming/tedious/category of creating, but I like it!

Why do I write/create what I do?

I create what I do because I love to do it.

How does my writing/creating process work?

I don’t really analyze things like my process.  It sort of sucks the joy out of creativity if I over-analyze what I do and how I do it!  But I can say that I daydream about designs and fabrics when I am braiding my daughters’ hair, when I am out for a walk, in the car, or cooking dinner.  The ideas formulate and then I usually pull fabrics and start sewing or, if it is more complicated like a paper pieced design, I sketch it out and draw out my design in EQ.

Sorry to make this brief but that first project that I mentioned above has a deadline that’s coming right up.  Gotta go sew!

 

Sponsor News

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Sew Me A Song is celebrating National Sewing Month with a great sale!  Take $10.00 off your purchase of $50.00 or more with coupon code SEWSEPT at checkout. 

il_570xN.636576863_91fcIt means you could get this awesome linen that I just ordered for a steal!  I am going to use it for the back of my paper pieced Christmas quilt WIP.

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The Fat Quarter Shop has dropped their shipping prices drastically now offering free shipping on all US orders over $80 and there are some good deals for those of you who are international as well.
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And did you see that Massdrop is offering a Noodlehead Bag Pattern 3 Pack? I have tried a number of Anna’s patterns and highly recommend them.

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Labor Day Sale

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Thermoweb is having a free shipping sale!  Click here.

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:

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.

star in night sky

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 occasionally 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.