Maker Quilt Complete

Maker Quilt by Amy Friend, Melinda Newton, Charise Randell

There is so much negativity surrounding the internet but so many positives too. Without the internet, I never would have known Melinda Newton and Charise Randell who made this quilt with me.  For that, I am so grateful!  I explained a lot about how this quilt came to be in this post so I will not repeat it today. But these ladies went above and beyond, making beautiful blocks for my quilt.

Maker Quilt by Amy Friend, Melinda Newton and Charise Randell

I just loved piecing together all the blocks of different sizes and having a little fun changing background fabrics here and there.

Maker Quilt by Amy Friend, Melinda Newton and Charise Randell

Melinda made such a massive needle block…I knew I wanted to highlight it. I quilted the rest of the quilt with 1/2″ diagonal lines but within that block, I quilted in a diagonal grid. I added that quilting element in two other small patches on the quilt too but they really show on the mustard solid.

My finished quilt measures 47″ x 56″.


I am not always good about labeling my quilts but I am trying to improve in that department.  My backing fabric is a Hope Valley print from my stash, with a little scissor print inserted above the label for fun. The binding is a Carolyn Friedlander print of just the perfect color for this quilt!

Thanks again Charise and Melinda; this was such a great collaboration.

What to do with Vintage Quilt Tops: Suggestions from a Preservation Perspective

Vintage quilt found in my great-grandmother's house. Maker unknown.

Vintage quilt found in my great-grandmother’s house. Maker unknown.

Thanks for joining me these past couple of weeks for my quilt preservation series.  If you missed them, my earlier posts covered Quilt Storage and Quilt Display.  Today I would like to talk about vintage quilt tops…let me tell you why.  A few months ago, a neighbor approached me with a bag full of vintage quilt tops that were made by her grandmother.  She wanted to know if I had any suggestions as to how they should be finished.  I started mulling it over and had more questions than answers.

I started by thinking of finishing techniques–would it be best to hand tie, hand quilt, quilt on a domestic machine or a longarm.  Should the quilting pattern used be typical of the time period when the top was made?  How would the quilt be used and would it tolerate the handling, the stresses of quilting, etc.  Would it even be worth it in the long run to finish a top that might not stand up to the intended use?

These questions led to my discussion with Camille, the textile conservator referenced in my earlier posts, and we both had the same gut reaction. If these were our quilt tops, we wouldn’t want to finish them.  I think that reaction is unusual though and is the reaction of someone trained in preservation.  We feel like our role in preservation is to not make changes to the object that might be contrary to the maker’s intentions.

Hand tied vintage quilt. Photo courtesy of Kerry Goulder,

Hand tied vintage quilt. Photo courtesy of Kerry Goulder,

I told Camille that I knew there were people who would want to finish the vintage tops though and what might be the best way.  I was concerned that domestic machine quilting might cause too much stress on the quilt top. You know how the quilts tend to need to be pulled and pushed and otherwise wrangled while quilting?  She agreed that very often vintage tops can’t stand up to all that manipulation but beyond that, they simply can’t hold up to all the stitching and punctures caused by stitching.  I was missing that obvious point in my thought process. I thought that maybe the quilting would help secure piecing seams in top but Camille said that while stitching through vintage fabrics feels really great, it weakens them greatly.

So how can we finish a top then with the least damage possible?  Camille suggests finishing in a way that uses a minimum number of stitches.  Lengthen your stitch length and stitch along existing seam lines if you want to machine quilt.  Stitching along structural lines (seam lines) does not impose your design elements on the vintage quilt top.  Better yet, she suggests hand tying the quilt.  She asks that people “respect the original quilter’s vision” and recommends that you “think twice before you greatly alter their quilt top.”

Vintage quilt found in my great-grandmother's house. Maker unknown.

Vintage quilt found in my great-grandmother’s house. Maker unknown.

If a vintage top is finished, it needs to be treated as vintage. In other words, it cannot be used as a bed quilt without knowing that it will be ruined in short order. The fibers are simply not strong enough.  You might consider some of the display suggestions I made in my last article instead.  As Camille said, vintage quilts and quilt tops are one of a kind survivors.  If you choose to use the quilt, know you are using it up.

Please know that the views expressed in this post are mine, informed by my conversation with a textile conservator.  They are not intended to condemn others who make different choices but rather to express another point of view and share some recommendations made by someone with specialized training in the field.  I hope you find them helpful or at very least, food for thought!


Sister Sampler Quilts Blog Hop

Sister Sampler Quilts Book Cover-1

AnneMarie sent me a copy of her beautiful new book, Sister Sampler Quilts: 3 Modern Sampler Quilts with Paired Sister Blocks.  If you are a fan of GenXQuilters then you will love this book because it is just what one would expect from AnneMarie.  Her designs are a thoughtful combination of the modern and traditional.  In this book, she shares 3 modernized sampler quilts.  The samplers are designed to use “sister” blocks which simply means a set of two of the same blocks used within the same quilt–sometimes they are identical, sometimes made from different fabrics, and in the Vice Versa Sampler, AnneMarie makes the second sister block an inverse of the first. I have to say that I am smitten with the idea of the inverse blocks.  I think it is a fun approach and results in really interesting blocks.


I tried out the very first block in the book, Grandmother’s Frame. I was drawn in by the fussy cutting.  This block allows you to fussy cut a larger scale design, which isn’t as common as a small scale fussy cut.  So, that sounded like fun to me.

Grandmother's Frame by Amy Friend

Here is my version. I used Maureen’s new fabric collection for Art Gallery Fabrics called Fleet and Flourish for the fussy cut center. I then chose coordinating solids for the remainder of the block.  The book provided cutting instructions for two sizes for this block. I made the 9″ block and then set it on point with corner triangles.  The directions were clear and concise.

This book includes lots of basics like HST construction and binding for those who are beginning. But the design aesthetic and ideas will suit the most advanced quilter.  As I mentioned earlier, AnneMarie really has me inspired by the inverse blocks.  I would like to play with those in the future! 

If you are interested in a copy, here is all you need to know!

Sister Sampler Quilts: 3 Modern Sampler Quilts with Paired Sister Blocks

By AnneMarie Chany

Fons & Porter/F+W; $19.99

Please stop by the other blogs participating in this hop to see more of the book!

Monday, January 18  
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters – Introduction
Sara Lawson / Sew Sweetness
Tuesday, January 19 
Leah Day / Free Motion Project
Brenda Ratliff / Just A Bit Frayed
Wednesday, January 20
Faith Jones / Fresh Lemons Quilts
Angela Pingel / Cut To Pieces
Thursday, January 21
Lynne Goldsworthy / Lily’s Quilts
Amy Friend / During Quiet Time
Friday, January 22
Christa Watson / Christa Quilts
Violet Craft
Monday, January 25
Lee Heinrich / Freshly Pieced
Melissa Corry / Happy Quilting
Tuesday, January 26
Karen Lewis / Karen Lewis Textiles
Wednesday, January 27
Sherri McConnell / A Quilting Life
Melissa Mortensen / Polka Dot Chair
Thursday, January 28
Heather Valentine / The Sewing Loft
Friday, January 29
Cindy Wiens / Live A Colorful Life
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters – Wrap Up

Quilt Display: Tips from a Preservation Perspective

This is the second installment of my quilt preservation and care series. In my last article, I spoke about quilt storage. Today’s topic is quilt use/display.

Antique Star Quilt Photo courtesy of Amy Smart,

Antique Star Quilt Photo courtesy of Amy Smart,

Before continuing on, I want to make clear that I am speaking from a preservation perspective (right up there in the title!). I know that many people make their quilts to be used and loved. It’s wonderful to see handmade quilts wrapped around people and I have made countless quilts that are used just that way too. I simply want to address the fact that quilts are ephemeral. This means that they will not last forever. If you make a quilt to be used and loved, just go into it knowing that it will not last forever. From the second it starts to experience use, it begins to wear out.  If you have a quilt that you would like to see passed through your family as an heirloom, or a collection of vintage quilts, or a quilt that won a ribbon in a show that you want to keep because it represents a special achievement to you, you need to think like a conservator.

Photo courtesy of Kerry Goulder,

Photo courtesy of Kerry Goulder,

As I mentioned last week, I consulted with textile conservator Camille Breeze when preparing this article. She made the statement that “display is slow damage.” It’s very true. One of her top tips is to minimize the amount of time a single quilt is on display by changing them out often. Think of your quilts as seasonal. Allow them to spend part of each year in proper storage and then on display. Permanent display leads to irreversible damage.

Photo courtesy of Jaime Costiglio,

Photo courtesy of Jaime Costiglio,

Camille recommends “passive use” for quilts that you are attempting to preserve. You might display them at the bottom of a guest bed, in a room free of pets. If there is an area of damage on your vintage quilt, you could arrange it so the the damaged area is hidden within the folds.

Photo courtesy of Lee Heinrich,

Photo courtesy of Lee Heinrich,

Quilt racks or ladders are another option. However, wood can cause discoloration. One simple solution is to wrap the ladder or rack poles with a clear archival polyester (Melinex or equivalent). It is a thin, transparent polyester film that can be cut to size and wrapped around the poles and secured to itself with double sided tape. Melinex is inert and will not cause any damage to your quilt and will protect it from direct contact with the wood.


Hanging quilts is another option. You can use a sleeve for hanging but Camille’s favorite hanging method involves Velcro. She has a pdf sheet describing the process of attaching the Velcro to your quilt here. Basically, you need to measure the width of your quilt and cut a piece of twill tape to length. Then machine sew the soft side of a long strip of Velcro on to the twill tape. Hand sew the twill tape to the true horizontal of the quilt (as you would a sleeve). Often times, unless a quilt is perfectly square, attaching a sleeve or Velcro in a straight line measured from the upper binding, will not result in a quilt that hangs flat. In order to get your quilt to hang flat, which will put less stress on the quilt, you need to find the true horizontal with a T square. The rough side of the Velcro is attached to the wall using a slat system described here. Due to the nature of Velcro, you can adjust your quilt a bit to make sure it is hanging well. Other hanging methods include magnetic slats so there are many options to explore.

Photo courtesy of Missie Carpenter,

Photo courtesy of Missie Carpenter,

In all cases, whether your quilt is displayed on the end of a bed, a rack or the wall, you should find a location where it will not be exposed to lots of light and therefore prone to fading. You also want a fairly stable atmosphere, as discussed in the storage article. Keep your quilts on interior walls, away from heating elements, and in the main living areas of your home (not the basement or attic).  Keep a careful eye out for pests like insects or rodents.

As you are rotating your quilts between storage and display, it’s a good idea to gently clean them.  A light vacuuming is the safest way to clean vintage quilts.  You can use a regular household vacuum with suction control.  Just adjust the suction to the lowest setting. When I worked in museums, it was recommended that we vacuum through a screen.  Updated conservation practices ask that you not use a screen because contact with the screen can cause damage to the textile.  Using a soft paint brush, brush the dust off the quilt toward the vacuum.  Museum Textile Services provides a free pdf describing textile vacuuming procedures.

I hope that these ideas will help you to make careful decisions about how you display your quilts to preserve them for future generations.  Next week, I will be back with some thoughts about vintage quilt tops.

Aurifil 2016 January Designer of the Month, Heather Valentine

Aurifil4colI shared my news on Instagram, but I think I neglected to mention it here on the blog. I was invited to be an Aurifil Designer of the Month for 2016. Of course I said yes because I am a huge Aurifil fan! I use Aurifil exclusively for my quilting.

Pat Sloan has put together an amazing team of designers this year.  If you don’t follow these people already, you will want to!
Jan -Heather Valentine – The Sewing Loft
Feb – Kari Carr
Mar – Christa Watson
Apr – Kate Spain
May – Amy Friend
June – Jacquelynne Steves
July – Wendy Sheppard
Aug – Angela Walters
Sept – Lynn Krawczyk
Nov – Katarina Roccella
Dec – Amanda Herring

Over the course of the year, designers will share patterns for 12″ blocks in blue and white.  At the end of the year, you will have a quilt top!  Along the way, you have a chance to win a box of Aurifil thread, valued at $120 just by posting a picture of your block to this Flickr group.

Aurifil 2016 Design Team January Heather Valentine650

We are starting off 2016 with a block designed by Heather Valentine from The Sewing Loft.

Finished Block

I like the way Heather used value in this block.  If you’d like to make it and read more about Heather, you can find all this information on the Aurifil Blog.


Quilt Storage: Tips from a Preservation Perspective

Photo courtesy of Jeni Baker

Photo courtesy of Jeni Baker

Years ago, before I decided to stay home with my children and start designing quilts, I was a collections curator.  I worked with a huge range of objects including antique automobiles, paintings, and ceramics.  The proper care of objects has always been important to me.  I like the idea of preserving objects for future generations.

I have been out of the field for a while now so I met with a former colleague, Camille Myers Breeze, founder and director of Museum Textile Services in Andover, MA earlier this week to check my facts and seek her recommendations on the topics of quilt care and preservation.  I intend to share this information with you in a series of blog posts: Quilt Storage, Quilt Display, and What to do with Vintage Quilt Tops.

I thought I would start with the proper storage of quilts.  Many of us have toppling stacks of quilts, stuffed cabinets and closets.  Sometimes these collections include vintage quilts and sometimes they are our own contemporary quilt work.  The best storage practices are the same and can be quite simple.

In years past, it was advised that quilts be rolled.  Then acid free boxes were used.  The current recommendation from Camille, a textile conservator, is to use plastic storage tubs that yes, you can even buy at Target!  The type of plastic is important. You want to look for polypropylene tubs.


If you scour the tubs, you will find this recycling symbol.  It means that the box is made from polypropylene, a type of plastic that is chemically stable and will not release degradation products that can damage the contents of the box (in this case, quilts).  The Sterilite brand offers a wide variety of polypropylene boxes.  It’s also best to not have too many quilts stacked in one box because the weight of the quilts at the top put pressure on the quilts below.  Shallow boxes are ideal.  You can also put your more delicate quilts on the top if you need to use a deeper box.

To fold you quilts, measure the width of the box.  If the box is 14″ wide, make the first fold up from the bottom of the quilt just under 14″ wide.  Pad that fold with a “snake” of acid free tissue.  Simply take a piece of tissue that is the same width as the quilt and twist it.  Place it in the fold.  A great place to buy Acid Free Tissue is Talas.  Place another tissue snake along the binding edge and then fold again.  There is now a piece of tissue cushioning both folds.  Continue folding the quilt up to the top.  Next, fold the quilt to fit the width of the box, placing tissue snakes in the folds.  Camille said that interleaving the tissue between every layer is unnecessary.  If tissue is place in the manner described, all folds have a pad and it is sufficient.  This is good news for our budgets too.

Quilt Storage, Amy Friend

Once the quilts are folded and placed in the polypropylene tub, it’s a good idea to mark the contents on the outside of the box.  This is common curatorial practice because it means that the contents of the box do not need to be handled as much.  The clear characteristic of polypropylene helps with this as well (a benefit over acid free boxes).  You could tape a plastic sleeve to the outside of the box and put a picture of the quilts in the sleeve as illustrated here.  It’s tempting to put the paper inside the box and skip the plastic sleeve step, but, as Camille warns, if water ever got into the box, the ink would run onto your quilts.

It’s best to store textiles out of the light and in a relatively stable environment where there aren’t huge swings of temperature and humidity.  Closets, under the bed, interior halls, etc. in the main living areas of your home are the best choices.  The attic and basement should be avoided.

While you don’t want to handle fragile quilts too often, it’s a good idea to check on quilts in long term storage at least once every 3-5 years to make sure that there is no sign of pests or other damage.


Now, we all do our best.  If there is one thing I learned in my early years at a very low budget non-profit museum, it’s compromise.  You can’t always do things perfectly due to budget, space or environment.  However, anything you do toward the goal of preservation is helpful and worth doing!  I do not have any vintage quilts of my own. If I did, I would certainly store them as outlined above. I do, however, have lots of quilts made by myself in the last 5 years or so.  Many of these quilts I need to keep accessible for trunk shows, etc.  I  had them stored in plastic but didn’t have sufficient space in our house to do so.  They were really an eyesore in the corner of my bedroom! So, I chose to move my quilts to a hutch.  I did find a hutch that had closely spaced shelves so that the quilts are no more than 4 high, generally only 3.  The hutch is away from the radiators in my house and in the main living level so the environment is good.  It is out of direct light.  There are some improvements I could make and plan to make over time, including padding all the folds (that’s first up!).

Let’s talk about other, less perfect options.  Lots of people have cedar chests and traditionally, they have been used to store special heirloom textiles.  However, cedar is very acidic and can result in discoloration of your quilts (the exception is wool or silk quilts because they are naturally acidic).  If you need to use it, slip your quilts into cotton pillow cases first.  If you have a wooden piece of furniture that you want to use for quilt storage, a couple of coats of Latex paint or waterborne polyurethane, provide a good barrier.  You could also create an archival liner for your chest or hutch.  Probably the most accessible product for the non-professional is Tyvek because you can buy it at Home Depot or Lowes.  Just make sure that you have the text side of the Tyvek facing away from your quilts.  Tyvek can be sewn so you can stitch liners on your sewing machine.

I hope that these ideas help you as you mull over solutions for long term quilt storage in your home.

Next up, we will talk about Quilt Display!




Maker Quilt

Maker Quilt by Amy Friend

I found a little time to assemble my Maker Quilt top. I had a lot of fun piecing it together!  I have the Cocorico Traveling Quilt Bee to thank for this quilt.

I started the quilt off with two orphan blocks I had that happened to color coordinate. One is the Zipper block that I made a number of years ago now when I was a part of the Sew Out Loud QAL. It is available for free here thanks to Julianna, the designer. The other is the sewing machine. It’s my own pattern and available for sale in my pattern shop and on Etsy and Craftsy. I sent along some sewing themed scraps, some greys, mustards and soft blues, and asked my friends to make sewing themed blocks. They are as generous as they are talented, I tell you. My friend Melinda made the giant sewing needle, the stitch block and the block with the spool and seam ripper. The iron, the jars, the scissors and the word “SEW” were made by Charise.
Maker Quilt Detail by Amy Friend

When I started assembling the blocks, I needed to fill a little space in the lower right corner. So I decided to make a couple of spools. One ties in the touch of brown that Melinda used on her spool. I made a lace spool and a thread spool!

Maker Quilt Detail by Amy Friend

The blocks are all different sizes so it was a puzzle to assemble (the only type of puzzle I enjoy!). I used a grey crosshatch for most of the sashing but threw in a Carolyn Friedlander soft grey blue and mustard print and a couple Art Gallery Prints in mustard–the stitches and the rows of lace.

I have backing from my stash and a quilting plan so hopefully it won’t be too long before you see this quilt complete!

Thank you Melinda and Charise!

Happy New Year

new year
I am posting a collage of a few of my favorite creations for this year. See that center image? So much of my work this year was for my book, Intentional Piecing. And that means that the best is yet to come! In 2016, I will be able to share images from the book that represent the bulk of my creative work for the year and I just can’t wait. I hope that you love the projects and are inspired to make some (or all!) of them. If you are so inclined, the book is available for preorder–link in sidebar.
Thank you to everyone who reads my blog and supports my work with your comments and “likes” in social media. Working from home can be isolating so all of that support means so much.
I wish everyone a happy and creative New Year!

The End of the Holiday Sewing

Leather Basket

I finished up a few last minute handmade holiday items. I believe that this will be it for this year, but one never knows.  I do have two more days!  I made this Leather Basket from Krista Fleckenstein’s new Beyond Cotton: Making by Hand: Stamp, Print, Dye & Paint 18 Modern Mixed Media Sewing Projects. This book is a great resource if you are interested in expanding your horizons to printing on fabric, dying fabric and sewing with leather, among other techniques. This project was a first for me in two ways. I had never worked with leather before. And I had never used rivets. So it was a fun sense of accomplishment! This will be going in my husband’s Christmas stocking.

Teddy Sleeping Bag

I stitched up this little sleeping bag for my goddaughter. My daughter’s well loved bear is modeling here but we bought her a new bear to go inside! It’s such a fun project and a quick sew. I used Florence’s pattern found here.


And finally, I made this ornament for our tree from Kerry Goulder’s Mrs. Tufty die for Sizzix. I thought that this bird would be much more fiddly to sew than it was. It actually went together quite easily. Kerry’s directions are very clear and complete. With the die cut accuracy, the curved pieces fit perfectly. I had always wondered how to sew knotted eyes like this. I used the instructions found in Kerry’s book, Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love: 18 Toy Patterns for the Storytelling Sewist. I was happy to learn just how easy they were!

I hope you are having fun putting the final handmade touches on your Christmas!


Inn Street Clutch Gifts

Inn Street Clutch by Amy Friend

I  just made 5 Inn Street Clutches for gifts this Christmas.  I used a number of prints from various Art Gallery collections and love how different each clutch is from the next!  You can find my pattern for this bag in Quilting Arts Holiday. There are even kits available.

Inn Street Clutches
Inn Street Clutch

Inn Street Clutch

Which is your favorite?  I have two more gifts to finish for Christmas. How about you?

Guest Blogger at McCall’s Quilting Blog


Join me today on the McCall’s Quilting Blog where I am a guest.  I’m talking about this quilt, Flashing Lights, and giving away some of my patterns!  Click here!

Ho Ho Sew! Ornament

sewing machine ornament

I can’t let a Christmas slip away without making at least one new ornament for the tree.  This year, I used one of Betz White’s patterns.  She has a collection of the most lovely and appealing felt ornament patterns in her Etsy shop. Check them out! Here is the direct link to the Ho Ho Sew! Sewing Machine Ornament PDF pattern.

I made one more for a friend too! They are so much fun.


Village Ornament Tutorial

2010-11-14 village ornaments printableb

I was just thinking about these ornaments. I made them 5 years ago now and they are still around, even though they were made from a tissue box!  I thought some of you might want to make some. They would be appropriate for an older child to make too.  My free printable templates are available here.

2010-11-14 IMGP0037b
I also made a more traditional, gingerbread house version. Both are fun!  Happy crafting.


The Perfect Gift

Hand Turned Seam Rippers

Are you looking for that perfect gift for someone who sews?  This is it!  My husband makes the most beautiful hand turned, acrylic handled seam rippers.  I have listed 17 of them in my Etsy shop (click Etsy button in sidebar).  We will not have any more available this year.

PDF Pattern Sale–30% off!


I don’t hold sales very often and this is my biggest one yet!  From 11/27-11/29 you will receive 30% off in my Etsy shop using the code “BLACKFRIDAY30.” There is no code needed for the same discount from my Pattern Shop here on my web site. Remember, if you live outside of the US, you will need to purchase your patterns from my Pattern Shop rather than Etsy due to the way I have things set up to monitor international sales for the VAT.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoys the holiday season ahead!  I am thankful for all of you…those who read my blog, who leave me comments, who click “like” on Facebook and IG, and who purchase my patterns.  Thank you!

Flashing Lights Pattern in McCall’s


I’m pleased to announce that I have a quilt design featured in the January/February 2016 issue of McCall’s Quilting.


The quilt is called Flashing Lights and it is made from Kate Spain’s fabric collection, Canyon, for Moda.  Canyon is paired with a Moda grey crossweave in this sample made by Sarah Dalrymple (thank you Sarah!).  The design is a simple traditional block called the Anvil but it showcases a collection like this so nicely!

Flashing-Lights-600pxThe beautiful quilting was done by Maggi Honeyman.

If you would like to purchase the magazine, you can find it here along with a free baby quilt size download.

Subscription issues began shipping November 10, 2015. By November 24, 2015 the issue will be available on newsstands, as well as in print or digital download format on Quilt and Sew Shop. This quilt has been kitted if you are interested in that option, while supplies last.


Sundance Dresden Pillow Blog Hop with the FQS


The Fat Quarter Shop asked if I would sew along with them and make a Sundance Dresden Pillow. I chose to work with Hazel, a fabric collection by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew for Windham. My grandmother, the one who sewed with me and taught me to make apple pie, was named Hazel. So, I was excited to see this fabric collection sporting her name! The name is making a bit of a comeback and I even know one little 5 year old with the name now. It makes me smile. But I digress….

If you would like to make a pillow, The Sundance Dresden Pillow Kit is available for those who want to make one just like the sample made by the Fat Quarter Shop. If you want to follow the pattern but use your own fabrics, like I did, opt for the PDF Pattern. If you need a little extra help, there is even a video!


This pillow is made using the Creative Grids 18 Degree Dresden Plate Ruler.  This was actually the first time I have used a shaped ruler like this…really!  I tend to paper piece.  So it was fun to try something new.  The instructions were clear and the ruler was very easy to use.  Since I was trying new things, I used the blanket stitch on my machine to finish the outer edges. I tend to like a straight stitch but thought I would give it a go!

The center circle of the pillow gives you the perfect opportunity for fussy cutting.  Don’t overlook that!  It makes all the difference!

If you have a minute, check out the other pillows made for the hop, made by:

Sherri of A Quilting Life
Nettie of A Quilt is Nice
Amy of Amy’s Creative Side
Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts
Katie of Good Golly Ginger
Rachel of PS I Quilt
Melissa of Oh How Sweet

Eiffel Tower Pillow with Small Wonders

Eiffel Tower Pillow

A couple of months ago, Mary Fons asked if I would like to work with her new collection, Small Wonders.  Of course, I said yes!  Mary has designed prints representing a number of countries: the Netherlands, South America, France, India, China, and the USA.   I received a stack of the “World Piece” France collection.  Mary’s goal was to create collections of small scale prints perfect for cutting into small pieces for patchwork.  You can read more about that here.

Eiffel Tower

The prints really are perfect for just that. I love the Eiffel Tower print the most so I decided to focus on it for the front of a pillow cover.  I thought I could paper piece an Eiffel Tower and fortunately, Sewhooked already had designed such a pattern which saved me some time!  You can buy the pattern here.  The two prints I used for the block were just perfect for paper piecing–not particularly directional and seam lines just blend away.

Eiffel Tower pillow back

I cut 2 1/2″ squares from the rest of the collection to make a patchwork pillow back.  As you can see, the print with a trio of crown, coat of arms and fleur de lis is the perfect 2 1/2″ square fussy cut.  The Eiffel Tower print could have been cut that way too but I didn’t have quite as much material to waste since I used it on the front as well.

I think you will find that Mary achieved her goal of making patchwork friendly small scale prints!  I look forward to seeing some of the other prints in the other groups in person.  I think a number of them will be great for paper pieced backgrounds–something I am always on the lookout for.  The red and white ditsy print above is one of those!

Thank you Mary for letting me play with this collection!


Texting While Sewing 2 Winners!


Penny from Sew Take a Hike had her work cut out for her judging this contest!  Penny narrowed down the top 10 entries to first, second and third place winners.  I am very thankful to her for all her careful consideration.


The talented first place winner is randomjeanius who made this gorgeous zebra bag.  Penny said, “The hidden zipper is ingenius and the zebra is beautifully pieced with the text fabric.  It’s stunning!



The first place winner will receive all of the following:


A $50 gift certificate to Sew Me A Song, a great shop for text fabrics and quirky Japanese prints.


A $50 gift certificate to Zipit, that’s a whole lot of zippers!

A $50 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop.


A copy of Anna Graham’s new book, Handmade Style, offered by the author herself.


The second place winner is the creative saphre1964.  Penny writes, “Her use of text coming from the zipper mouth is creative and I love that she used such encouraging words for the text.”


The second place winner will receive all of the following:


A $35 gift certificate to Sew Me A Song


A $35 gift certificate to Zipit.


A QuiltyBox full of surprise quilting goodies.


A Tulip Pin 6 Piece Gift Set from Massdrop.


The clever misterandmouse is our third place winner.  Penny says, “The pieced newspaper collage is visually appealing and whimsical. I adore this project!”


The third place winner will receive all of the following:

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A $25 gift certificate to Sew Me A Song.


A $25 gift certificate to Zipit.


A prize pack including 1 pack of each: HeatnBond EZ Print in Lite, Feather Lite, StitchnSew Quilt Blocks, Pressing Paper, Liquid Fabric Fuse, HeatnBond Fusible Fleece and HeatnBond Lite from HeatnBond.


A Creative Maker Supply Case Pattern donated by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness.


Our lucky, randomly drawn participant is heatherheidlage. Congratulations Heather!

Heather will receive:

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A $25 gift certificate to Sew Me A Song.


A $15 gift certificate to Zipit.

Handturned Acrylic Seam Rippers

And one of my husband’s hand turned acrylic handled seam rippers.  The color will be a surprise.

A huge thank you to all the sponsors!
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Texting While Sewing Top 10 Finalists


The Texting While Sewing 2 Contest deadline was last night at midnight. I spent the morning looking over the entries and trying to narrow it down to the top 10.  That wasn’t easy!!  A lot of time and energy went into each and every entry and I am so grateful for everyone who played along.  I did manage to settle on the top 10.  My focus was the creative use of text and zippers.

I am going to share the top ten in a random order:

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1. This is Danette Stankovich’s emailed entry.  She made a Downton Abbey themed bag.  Lots of little details make this bag truly creative.  She not only used the Downton text prints, but she pieced 4 paper pieced blocks with Downton themes and all of them include fussy cut text prints.  There are even fussy cuts running down the sides of this bag. You must click over to her blog to see all the pictures and read about it.  Zips are inside (check!).

sewing_with_dragons2.  This is sewing_with_dragons bag with an appliqued sewing machine made of fussy cut sewing and design words. The zipper is included in a little pouch that is hidden in the outer pocket.  Check her feed for other views of the bag!


3.  This tote is made by saphre1964 and is titled Careful What You Say.  Not only did she use text in a creative way, she used the zipper decoratively which is really fun.  She has some other great pictures of the tote in her feed.  This is such an artsy bag making a great statement.


4.  Queenpeach_20 made a bag that serves as her travel momento from a trip to Japan. It includes fabrics purchased in Japan, tea fabrics to suggest Japanese tea ceremonies, and fabric that includes her last name, “Peach.”  I also love the way the zip was incorporated in the fun outer pocket, set at a quirky angle.  Check her feed for newly added daytime pics.


5. This Zip a dee doo dah bag by scrappynhappy is a fun because it combines the zipper and text requirements.  You have to click to her feed to see the back of the bag that has three zippers, each a different color, with the lining of that pocket a text fabric in the coordinating color.  I love that detail.


6.  How clever is this zebra tote by randomjeanious?  Not only is the zebra pieced with black and white text prints, it has a concealed zipper in the mane that opens to reveal zebra fabric.  Click through to her feed to see an overall shot of the finished bag.


7.  Misterandmouse had way too much fun making up a story and crafting this fussy cut newspaper front for her tablet cover.  Click through to her feed to see the back and inside too and read her story.


8. acrafty_maker made this drawstring bag with playmat.  The zipper is included in the center of the mat where there is a pocket to hold toys.  You can better see all the texty details she used in the eye spy patchwork if you click through to her blog post so I encourage you to do that!


9.  Happysewlucky made a Mega Zipper Zipper Tote to organize all of her zippers by size or type.  Each pocket is made of a different text print and the size or type of zipper is fussy cut on the pocket.  The entire thing looks like a zipper when it is unfolded…very clever!


10. This Cotton + Steel selvage bag was made by elnorac.  I love the way the texty selvages enhance the design of the bag.

The top ten will now be reviewed by our guest judge, Penny from Sew Take a Hike. The top three winners and the randomly drawn participant, will be announced on Sunday.
Thank you everyone for participating and sharing your creativity!
Thank you to our sponsors for enticing people to enter!

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Interlock Quilt Pattern

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Just popping in to let you know that my Interlock Quilt Pattern is now available as a stand alone pattern. You can download it from any of my shops (Etsy and Craftsy links in sidebar or Pattern Shop link above).  If you are a shop owner, you can order it wholesale from Checker or United Notions, or directly from me.  This is a jelly roll pattern and it is easy enough for a beginner! I really love this design.  It’s something new in jelly roll designs and looks great no matter what fabric collection you choose.


Happy Halloween

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Happy Halloween from Elsa…

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and an archer!


Another Little House on the Prairie Quilt!

Gianna's quilt

Are you familiar with my Little House on the Prairie Sew Along?  We finished up last year but the tutorials for all the blocks are still available on my blog.  Just search for “Little House on the Prairie” in the search field found in the side bar and you will be able to pull up all the posts.  My daughter and I read all the Little House books and I designed blocks to go with each book.  I then sewed them with my daughter, letting her choose all the fabrics and do all the stitching.

Well, today I wanted to share a reader’s finished quilt. Isn’t it lovely?  She added all sorts of extra details, like whiskers on the cat!  This quilt was made by  Karen Thurn of Tu-Na Quilts.  She shared a lovely story to go with it that I am reposting with her permission:

“It was made for my friend’s 7 year old grandchild in celebration of a prayer that was answered last weekend. Since she could talk, she’s prayed nightly for a daddy. Her mother was married on the 17th and there was a surprise adoption blessing at the end of the ceremony. This little girl loves the Little House books and is now just starting to read them herself. I live too far from her to have her help with the sewing.  But I did ask her what her favorite colors were so I concentrated on the pink, purple, and blues.  My mother added the hand embroidery and the ABC blocks were hand satin stitched. It took her 2 days.

Now my 5 year old grandson wants one too as he is a big fan of Laura—his parents took him to DeSmet SD this summer and they slept in a covered wagon. Only he wants a covered wagon, real log cabin, pair of red mittens, and an ox. So I’ll have to do some designing and switching out of some of the blocks. I might even try designing a fiddle. His colors are orange, blue, green and brown. Should be fun.”

Karen mentioned that she had trouble piecing the geese in the sunset and that it helped to not cut off the tips of the pattern pieces (as shown on the pattern pieces themselves) but rather leave the tips triangular until the whole block is assembled and then trim.  Good tip Karen!  I do that myself.


Thank you for sharing your quilt and it’s story Karen!


Quilt Festival


I’m so happy to have two of my favorite quilts hanging at the Quilt Festival in Houston as a part of the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase.


Thank you to Paula Cheney for taking these pictures and sending them to me!  This is Puddling.


And this is Pointed Statement.

I have seen pictures of the other quilts in the showcase and they are beautiful!  If you have a chance to visit the exhibit, please do!


Tim Holtz Projects for Market

Patchwork Bag by Amy Friend

I did not travel to Quilt Market this year but am enjoying seeing the pictures from home while celebrating a very important 10th birthday, among other things.  My friends at Tim Holtz asked me to make a couple of things for his booth.  The first was a modern, improv style log cabin tote with some matchstick quilting. I had to start with a fussy cut…and then add one more…I couldn’t help myself!

Bohemian Pillow by Amy Friend

They also asked for a pillow using my Bohemian Pillow pattern.  These are always fun to make!


I like the way that black and beige geometric print works with the floral and text prints in the collection.  It adds a bit of a pop.

Be on the look out for this collection when it arrives in stores!


Color Injection Quilt Pattern

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It took a little prodding, mostly because I was putting off the side triangle/corner triangle math, but I have finally released the pattern for this quilt.  I had originally called this quilt my Irish Chain Variation. How boring!  It has been renamed Color Injection, thanks to @mirandaevans01.  The name is perfect because this quilt was inspired by an Amish design but I injected some color into the negative space, in the form of a bold red gradient.  I thought that the name was a perfect fit.  The pattern is available in my Etsy and Craftsy shops (see buttons on sidebar) for US customers only.  Domestic and international customers can purchase the pattern right here on my site by clicking on the Pattern Shop link above.

The pattern is rotary cut, simple squares and triangles, and easily pieced following very clear full color diagrams.

I’m very pleased that this quilt was chosen to hang in the Texas Quilt Museum this winter for a modern quilt exhibit. If I had thought of it, having a quilt hang in a museum would have definitely been on my bucket list, so this is pretty neat.

Thank you for all your encouragement!