Craft Fail; Book Review

craft fail cover

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 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?


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.


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.


Utopia Giveaway from the Fat Quarter Shop



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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.



Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Chalkboard



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.



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.


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.


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.


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Shirt


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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?


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.



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.


Welcome Gotham Quilts (with Coupon Code!!)


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.

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.


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


I feel the same way about this print.


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.


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!


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!


Gertie Sews Vintage Casual; Book Review


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

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.


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!


National Sewing Month

Nat Sewing and Quilting Heart Banner-08

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.


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.

Studio Spotlight 2

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.


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 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


- 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.

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.




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!


Selvage Whirlwind at the BAQS Exhibit


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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.


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.

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.


Labor Day Sale


Thermoweb is having a free shipping sale!  Click here.

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along: Eagle Feather


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

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


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.


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.



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.


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.



Little House on the Prairie Sew Along: Winter Window


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:


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


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


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.



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!



Summer Sales


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!


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.


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



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.


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!


Sharing Info about The Sewing Party

SewingParty Header

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

Seam Rippers Available

Seam rippers

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



Kite Tails Quilt Pattern

Kite Tails Quilt Pattern by Amy Friend

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

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

The finished quilt measures 60″ x 72.”

Kite Tails by Amy Friend

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

Kite Tails by Amy Friend

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

Kite Tails by Amy Friend

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

Kite Tails by Amy Friend
And this one!

Kite Tails by Amy Friend


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

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




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.


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


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


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.




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

Sheep Block

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

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

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

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


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


Almanzo's Pumpkin Block


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

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

Pumpkin Block


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

Out of background fabric:

A:  2″ x 14 1/2″

B:  Cut two 3″ x 6 1/2″

E:  Cut four 3 1/2″ squares

Out of stem fabric:

C:  2 1/2″ 3″

Out of pumpkin fabric:

D:  10 1/2″ x 14 1/2″

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

Sewing Pumpkin Block

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

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

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




Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone

Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone Cover by Amy Friend

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

Soft Serve Ice Cream Cones by Amy Friend

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

Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone by Amy Friend

I hope you are enjoying your summer time!

Wet Suit Bag Tutorial

Wet Suit Bag Tutorial by Amy Friend


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


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Barn Block


Barn Block

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

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

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

Lily with Barn Block


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


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Maple Leaf

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

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

Lily sewing

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

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

Indelible Footprint Quilt Top

Indelible Footprint Quilt Top by Amy Friend

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

Indelible Footprint by Amy Friend

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

Indelible Footprint by Amy Friend

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

Indelible Footprint by Amy Friend

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

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

blog hop

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


A Couple of Contests!

sew what tee banner-02

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

Two winners will be chosen every month from July through September and the winners will receive a $100 Fat Quarter Shop gift card.

The Fat Quarter Shop sent me a tshirt so here you go…my selfie!  If I can do it, so can you!  Full details can be found here.


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


Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Pet and Patty

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

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

Pet and Patty Block

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

Pet and Patty Block

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

You can download the templates and block layout diagram here.

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


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


Mary's Nine Patch

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

Mary's Nine Patch

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

Lily sewing

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

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

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Black Susan


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

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

Lily sewing

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

Black Susan

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

Black Susan layout

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

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

Bushel Basket of Apples Pattern

Bushel Basket of Apples by Amy Friend

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

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

Bushel Basket of Apples Detail by Amy Friend

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

Bushel Basket of Apples Pattern by Amy Friend

If you would like to make this block, you can find the pattern in my Craftsy shop and my Etsy shop.

Little House on the Prairie Sampler Project

Lily Sewing

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

Little House in the Big Woods Log Cabin Block

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

Sewing Speed

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

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

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

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

Oliso Pro Iron and Massdrop

Oliso Pro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

melissa says:

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

I already like fqs on fb.

Mellisa, I have emailed you!


Fat Quarter Shop Giveaway!

25thandpine bundle

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

Mittens & Main by Amy Friend for BasicGrey

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

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

The giveaway is open to international entries.

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

LIKE us on Facebook:

SUSCRIBE to our YouTube channel:

FOLLOW us on Instagram: @fatquartershop and @duringquiettime

Tweet about the giveaway including @fatquartershop and @duringquiettime

The giveaway will close on Saturday June 21st.