Luminous Quilt

My local paper printed a really nice article about Improv Paper Piecing yesterday.  You can read the article here.  They chose the photo of my quilt, Luminous, for the article in the paper (all the photos I sent are in the online version but this was the image chosen for the printed paper).  I always love seeing what picture is chosen and how neat it is that everyone picks a different one!  This photo was taken at a local historic site, the John Greenleaf Whittier birthplace. Across the street from the white clapboard house, is a red barn. Beyond the barn is a cow pasture with this rusted gate and tall grass.  I normally avoid walking through tall grasses but risked the deer ticks for this shot.  You know, it’s always worth it for a pretty quilt picture.

The design of this quilt was inspired by the stars, a common source of inspiration for traditional quilters, as well.  But my stars are asymmetrical and less identifiable as stars.  They simply become interesting shapes.  Through the random coloration of each star and the rotation of the block throughout the quilt, the stars look unique. But, as you look at the quilt, your eye settles in on some of the more prominent shapes, such as the really wide, short arm of the star above, and you notice that it is repeated throughout.  Those interesting shapes direct your eye across the quilt.

I love the negative shapes created in-between the stars too.  They give the quilt some real energy!  I am excited to share my improv paper piecing design techniques at QuiltCon next week!

Edited to add: Yes, this pattern is available in my new book, Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design. It can be purchased in my Etsy shop or on Amazon. Also, be sure to ask for it at your local bookstore or quilt shop!

 

Peacock Crossing; A Sneak Peek from Improv Paper Piecing

I wanted to give you a little sneak peek from my book, Improv Paper Piecing.  I am told that Amazon will begin shipping mid next week!  You can preorder on Amazon or order directly from my Etsy shop.

This quilt is called Peacock Crossing and is from the Shape Based section.  The book is broken into three sections: traditional block based inspiration, shape based and object based.  I explain how you can use any of those approaches to arrive at improvisationally influenced paper pieced designs.  If you are going to Savannah for QuiltCon next week, you can visit this quilt in the Lucky Spool booth.

I have been able to share my book with a few early reviewers and love what Heather Grant had to say about Improv Paper Piecing,  She said “Amy’s quilts have always drawn me in because they are precise, yet organic. I couldn’t quite figure out how she managed this balance between two opposites until I picked up her book, Improv Paper Piecing. In this book, she outlines how to use paper piecing and improv to create quilts that are visually organized, yet free. This is a great book for any quilter looking to explore design using a technique to create one of a kind quilts.”  Pat Sloan will be sharing a review of my book on her blog next week so be sure to follow her!

I look forward to sharing more quilts in upcoming weeks!  If your guild is interested in an improv paper piecing workshop or trunk show, be sure to check out my Teaching/Lectures page and get in touch!

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

Penny just completed the third block for her Little House on the Prairie Quilt!  Information about the free sewalong and the block pattern can be found here.

In The Little House on the Prairie, Mary is sewing nine patch blocks.  It’s the perfect block for a beginner sampler like this because it’s easy!  And it gave me the chance to teach Penny about chain piecing and nesting seams too.  In this book, Mary and Laura spent hours watching bunnies in the tall prairie grass so as soon as Penny spotted this lavender bunny print in my stash, she knew she wanted to use it.  I think it was the perfect choice.  It has just a touch of red to coordinate with her log cabin block and she paired the lavender with aqua which she also used in the log cabin.

Remember to post images of your blocks on Instagram using the hashtag #littlehousealong. If you want to tag me too, @duringquiettime, I will be sure to see it sooner and can compliment you on your work!

Today, I am a guest blogger on The Quilter’s Planner blog, talking about ways to introduce your child to sewing.  If you have a younger child and think that they might not be quite ready for this project yet, maybe you will enjoy some of my tips.

 

Bamboo Table Runner Pattern is Ready

The Bamboo Table Runner project that I showed yesterday can now be purchased as a PDF pattern in my shops.  Links are in my sidebar to Etsy, Craftsy or my Pattern Shop.

The bamboo table runner is minimalist and striking, finishing at 12” x 31”. In addition to the table runner instructions, the block pattern is provided in two sizes, 7″ x 9″ and 9″ x 11 1/2″. Pattern includes a numbered, colored diagram as well as mirror image pattern pieces, ready for foundation piecing. Basic paper piecing directions are not included. This pattern does not have any curves or Y seams.

Thank you for your eagerness to try the pattern! I hope you enjoy it.

Bamboo Table Runner

This weekend, we found ourselves in need of a birthday gift for a close family friend who is really hard to buy for!  A few years ago, I made him a fall colored runner for his table and he has kept it there ever since and really seemed to appreciate it.  So we decided that a new table-runner would be just the thing.  Now he will be able to switch them out for a bit of a change.  We thought he might like a bamboo design because he is a big fan of Asian cuisine and clean modern designs.  I thought bamboo had the potential to be transformed into a simple, modern, appealing design.  I started by designing a paper pieced bamboo block pattern in EQ7.

I played around with some layout possibilities and decided to make four blocks with a bit of a border.  I incorporated the mirror image of the block into the design as well. EQ7 allows you to print your foundation patterns as mirror image or not. I used both; as I often do.  Two of my blocks are mirror images of my original design and two are not. Then I inverted two of the blocks because I like a table runner that you can enjoy from all sides of the table.

While working on designs, sometimes I like to add a second border that is .25 inches wide.  It’s a handy way to mock up your binding in the quilt top design layout.

This is how my layout looked in EQ7.  See how that narrow second border mimics binding?  It can be really helpful in auditioning binding choices when you just aren’t sure. You’ll notice that I made one bamboo stalk a darker green, just for added interest!

This picture shows the quilting nicely. I used a 50 weight beige Aurifil thread and a series of criss-crossing straight lines to suggest the angles of bamboo stalks.  I used blue painters tape and followed it with my walking foot to make those lines. I used about 6 pieces of tape so that I could stitch a number of lines, then adjust the tape and quilt some more.

I really like the minimalist yet recognizable design that was achieved. I hope he likes it!

I will have the block and table runner pattern in my shop soon.

 

Improv Paper Piecing is Shipping!

My copies of Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design just appeared at my door step this afternoon!  They are arriving at shops who pre-ordered right now as well.  I am really looking forward to sharing the ideas and designs from the book with you in the upcoming weeks. I also have a great giveaway coming up to help celebrate!

To start things off, I thought I would share my favorite shot from the book.  And it gives you a little sneak peek of a bunch of the quilts too! I had this picture in mind but I couldn’t find a good spot to take it, where the grass was nice and tall.  I mentioned it to a local friend of mine and she said that she would look as she ran through town.  Two days later, she sent me a text suggesting this location and it was perfect!  The yellow flowers were a bonus.

My book is technique based, presented in a workshop style approach.  My hope is that by explaining my design method, and offering lots of exercises and prompts, I will encourage you to create your own designs.  I incorporate an improvisational approach to design–embracing the irregular, the asymmetrical, the unexpected, with the paper piecing technique.  Why?  Because paper piecing allows you to repeat these improvisational designs and harness the power of repetition!  It combines the aesthetic I love with the technique I prefer–it’s the perfect pairing.

All my exercises are illustrated with quilt patterns that I will share in the days to come!

I have copies of my book ready to ship in my Etsy shop and will be happy to sign them for you.

Stars Hollow Quilt

Finally!  I started this Gilmore Girls themed quilt hoping to finish it in time to watch the new episodes of the show wrapped up in it.  That didn’t happen.  But, I can watch them again and use it!  I think I will call it my Stars Hollow quilt.  For those of you who missed it, I have been sewing coffee cup blocks using my Rise and Shine Coffee paper pieced pattern and making each cup suit the personality of a character from the Gilmore Girls television show.  The quilt includes blocks for 18 of the main and supporting characters.  They were a lot of fun to make and are all documented in prior blog posts:

Click here to read about Rory, Sookie and Luke
Click here to read about Logan, Emily and Dean
Click here to read about Lorelai, Jackson and Babette
Click here to read about Mrs. Kim, Lane, Christopher and Miss Patty
Click here to read about Jess and Taylor

As I created this list, I realized that I never shared the last three blocks! Let me do that now:

Do you remember the time when Paris lost her nanny and hired a life coach, Terrance? He helped her set up a craft corner in her Yale dorm room to calm her nerves. There was one time that she was hyperventilating because her hot glue gun leaked on her macaroni. Paris was driven and wanted to go to medical school or law school after Yale. The science fabric is for her science classes. The newspaper print at the top is there because she was editor of the paper until she was ousted.


This is Richard Gilmore ‘ s coffee cup. The center piece is Cigar Box by Tim Holtz and I used it because Richard loved cigars. The numbers are used to symbolize his career in insurance followed by a few years as an economics professor at Yale. The black band is for all of his black tie events.

It’s Kirk’s coffee cup!  Kirk was a grown man living at home with his mother…and she wouldn’t give him his own key! At one point Kirk got a cat that he named Kirk. Cat Kirk didn’t like human Kirk and would attack and scratch him! Kirk had a million jobs. One was befriending old women who would bequeath him their jewelry and he would resell it.  The gold sparkles in the top band are for glittering jewelry. He sold Luke an engagement ring for Lorelai.

I wanted to come up with a fun setting for the blocks and knew from the start that I wanted to use this star fabric from Cotton + Steel for the background fabric (to represent Stars Hollow, of course!).  I decided to set the blocks in a topsy turvy fashion and used this tutorial to get me started. I had to adapt it because my blocks are rectangular and the tutorial was for a square block.  After a little trial and error, I got it. I placed four blocks in the first, third and fifth rows and just three blocks in the second and fourth rows.  Then I added some background fabric to the top and bottom to make sure the quilt measured slightly longer than it did wide.  I might have gone longer but I ran out of the background fabric so, that was that!  The finished quilt measures about 65″ x 68″.

I backed the quilt in newsprint because so much of the show revolves around school and books and journalism. It seemed fitting.  I quilted in Aurifil 2315, a very light cinnamon color. I debated what color to use because some of the coffee cups had really light colors in them.  This color blended well enough against them without being too harsh on the darker cinnamon background fabric.  I stitched vertical lines but also at an angle from four different blocks out to the edge.  You can see in the image above how that created a diagonal grid in sections. I thought that this additional quilting would be much more noticeable than it actually was.  I kinda wish it popped more.

Picture taking was challenging today in New England. I took these pictures with temperatures in the teens.  My fingers nearly froze!  It’s hard when the sun is so low in the sky during the winter with all the trees casting long shadows.

Well, thank you everyone who has joined me on this Gilmore Girls/Stars Hollow journey. It’s been fun!

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Black Susan

Penny finished sewing her Black Susan block this afternoon, the second and final block to accompany the Little House in the Big Woods book.  We are a couple of chapters into Little House on the Prairie and will be back with more blocks when we are done reading it.  There has been some controversy within our house over the order of the books in the Little House series.  The books that I have from my childhood list Farmer Boy after Little House on the Prairie.  The new set that Penny got for Christmas, lists Farmer Boy first.  We decided that it doesn’t really matter because Farmer Boy stands on its own anyway.  So we are readying Little House on the Prairie next to keep going in the same order that I read the books with Lily.  If you are sewing along, do what works for you!

We didn’t have a lot of black fabric in the house so we decided to use this more loosely woven black fabric.  It reminded me to mention that it’s so much easier to keep to tightly woven quilting cottons when you are sewing with kids.  They stretch more and can be more frustrating for the beginner sewist.  Also, always check how much fabric you have before your child gets her heart set on it!  Penny chose this butterfly print from Lizzy House and then we realized that I only had a 12 1/2″ high piece and it needs to be 14 1/2″.  We couldn’t make the butterflies sideways so we pieced the strips.  She was happy with that solution because she really wanted to use the purple.  We also talked a little about fabric selection. She really wanted this block to be purple but I pointed out that it would be next to her red and aqua log cabin block in her quilt top. I suggested looking for a print that was purple but had a touch of one of those colors to help make it work.

Please remember that all the block tutorials and information about this sew along can be found by clicking on the Little House on the Prairie Sew Along link in the header of my blog.

 

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along–Take Two!

In 2014, I started a sew along to make this Little House on the Prairie Sampler quilt.  It was sewn by my daughter Lily, who was in second grade at the time.  We read the books together and designed a couple of blocks per book.  I shared all the tutorials on my blog so that others could sew along with us!  We used the hashtag #littlehousealong on Instagram to share pictures.  Lily chose all her own fabrics and did all the sewing.  I did the cutting and ironing.  Well, Lily’s sister, Penny, is now in second grade so it’s time for the Little House on the Prairie Sampler quilt take two!

This is Penny’s first real machine sewing project and she felt pretty proud of her finished block!  This is a log cabin block because the Ingalls family was living in a log cabin in the Big Woods.

If you would like to sew along with us, I created a new page that lists all the tutorials.  If you look up at the top of my blog, there are a number of links along the header. One of them says “Little House on the Prairie Sew Along.”  Click there and it will bring you to a picture of the finished quilt and links to Lily’s version of each block which will include the tutorials.  And I will add links to share Penny’s versions as we go so that you can see how the blocks look in different fabrics.  That might help your children as they select their colors!

EQ Ambassador–Do you EQ?

EQ asked if I would consider being an EQ Ambassador for 2017 and I was happy to agree!  I purchased EQ7 at the beginning of 2012, five years ago now!  Just a few months prior, I had joined a the Cocorico Bee, a paper pieced bee.  I began designing blocks for the bee using paper and pencil and quickly realized that it would be in my best interest to look into a software program where I could make changes to my designs quickly and easily.  I started by using what I had, Photoshop. My first paper pieced block pattern that I released for sale was my iceskate. I drew it by hand and scanned it.  Then I drew over the lines in Photoshop.  Then came the truly difficult and tedious part, breaking apart the sections of the pattern to print separately.

At the end of that design experience, once again, I found myself looking for something different. Perhaps Photoshop could have worked for me but it is a complicated program and, at the time, I knew very little about how to use it.  I know that I lot of designers use Illustrator but it is costly and, again, a complicated program.  So I decided to try EQ7 hoping that it would be easier for me to learn since it was tailor made for quilting.

Within a couple of months, I released by second pattern, this vintage skier, using EQ7 to draft it.

I taught myself how to use EQ7, just referring to the manual and by Googling questions and looking for answers online.  I find the program fairly intuitive.  Tech support at EQ is excellent too and they were able to help with me a few problems that I encountered.  That said, if you have an opportunity to take an EQ class, I would certainly recommend it because it will help you to jump right in without frustration and to learn those little tricks that I have only discovered over time with use.

I continued to work on my paper pieced design skills by challenging myself to create a garden themed quilt with 16 original block designs.  By the end of this project, I felt that I understood the basics of paper pieced design in EQ pretty well.  My design skills had improved and my ability to use the program had also!

I really like using EQ7 for paper pieced block design. It allows me to upload scanned images that I have sketched, photographs, or other inspirational images, and use them as a reference as I overlay my block divisions.

Then I can color the image using solids, as I did here for my spring chicken, or fabrics that are provided by EQ or those that I choose to scan in and add to my Fabric Library.  I export these images to use as the block diagrams for my patterns.  Then I create the pdf foundation pieces by grouping and numbering my pieces and then choosing to print the foundation pattern.

This, right here, makes EQ worth every penny to me.  My sections are broken apart for me (in the groupings that I chose and numbered) and then I have the ability to move them around on the page prior to saving them as a pdf.

I use EQ7 for nearly all of my designs and honestly think that it is a great product.  I have added the EQ7 class that I will be teaching at QuiltCon to my workshop offerings if you are interested.  I would really love to share the step by step instructions with you to help you create your own designs. Of course, I do not use the program for only pictorial paper pieced blocks but also traditionally pieced quilts and paper pieced quilts. In my gallery of completed quilts, you can see lots of examples of my work, nearly all of which were designed in EQ.

Congratulations to Christa Watson, the other EQ Ambassador for 2017!  Have you seen Christa’s new Craftsy class?  If not, check it out here.

I look forward to sharing all my EQ creations with you this year.


 

 

Mighty Lucky

I just wanted to remind you that a new year of the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club has just begun!  I am starting out the year with my challenge called Transforming Inspiration into Original Designs.  It’s a topic that I am passionate about and hope that you will be too!

The challenge is broken up into three sections so that if time is tight, you can opt to just complete just the first portion of the challenge and still get something from the exercise. We know that it can be hard to keep up with a monthly challenge like this, so hopefully, you will find this to be an improvement in this year’s Mighty Lucky Club.  But, I hope that you will enjoy the challenge so much that you complete it!  Plus, it’s January…you can’t be behind yet!

If you haven’t signed up for this year, it’s not too late. Here is the direct link.

Little Lady Project Bag

My mom’s birthday is right on the heels of Christmas. I asked her if she’d like me to make her something and she asked for a sewing project bag using my Little Lady sewing machine block.  I really had fun picking fabrics that I thought she would enjoy. I particularly love the spool!!

I used a sewing themed fabric from my stash for the body of the bag.  It was the perfect colors and theme.  The inside of the bag is a sewing themed text print.  I love having those perfect fabrics on hand for projects!  Both had been in my stash for a few years.  My favorite little detail on the bag is the lace trim along the top.

If you’d like to try the pattern, it’s available in all of my shops (links in sidebar).

Happy New Year!

Ice Skate Block

I finished another block for my paper pieced Christmas quilt last night.  This is a pattern that I designed quite awhile ago, before I was using EQ7, so it will appear different to those of you who have purchased my more recent patterns.  But it’s just as good and goes together nicely!  I made the original block pretty small, so I enlarged the pieces on my photocopier to make a larger block.  I used a tiny snowflake like print for the ice skate.  It actually has a light blue tinge to it which makes it work nicely with other blocks in the quilt, as well as the Heath background of this block that is blue with green crosshatching on top.  I used a metallic print for the runner, which I love!  The magic of these blocks is in the details. I used a special stitch on my machine to make the eyelet holes on the upper portion of the skate and then stitched laces using embroidery floss. It brings it to life!  I think I am probably done working on this quilt again for this year, due to time not interest. But I think my next step will be to make several tiny snowflake blocks.  I am going for blocks of all different sizes to be pieced together and the snowflakes can be scattered throughout.

If you are looking for this pattern, it’s available in all my shops as a PDF.  Directions are included for the hand stitching and eyelet details.

December Aurifil Designer of the Month: Amanda Herring

The designer of the month for December is Amanda Herring, a fabric designer for Riley Blake.  Her company is The Quilted Fish.


Here is Amanda’s flower block, made using her favorite shade of blue, a pretty turquoise.  You can find the block and an interview with Amanda here.

Don’t forget, by submitting a photo of your block online, you will be entered for a chance to win a box of Aurifil thread!  This is your last chance for this year!

Here is a picture of all the designer blocks for this year.  Don’t they look great together?  I look forward to seeing what Pat Sloan does with them!  They were made by the following fabulous Aurifil designers:

Jan -Heather Valentine   http://thesewingloftblog.com/
Feb – Kari Carr http://www.newleafstitches.com 
Mar – Christa Watson http://christaquilts.com/ 
Apr – Kate Spain http://www.katespain.com/ 
May – Amy Friend http://duringquiettime.com/ 
June – Jacquelynne Steves http://jacquelynnesteves.com/ 
July – Wendy Sheppard https://ivoryspring.wordpress.com/ 
Aug – Angela Walters http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com/
Sept – Katarina Roccella   http://likeflowersandbutterflies.com/
Nov – Kim Niedzwiecki http://www.gogokim.com/ 
Host – Pat Sloan http://blog.patsloan.com

You can find the patterns for all the blocks in one convenient spot. Be looking for the 2017 Aurifil Designer Team who will bring you 12 new patterns for next year!

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Knitting Socks Project Bag

Who is making Christmas gifts?  I am!  I just finished this Knitting Socks block from my pattern by that name.  I used a knit-look fabric for the sock.  And I used a script print in two different directions to look like a ball of yarn.  The embroidery details on the needles and down to the ball of yarn are a fun touch.

I added borders to make it large enough for a good size project bag. I fused the front and back to fusible fleece.  The back is heavily quilted in a diagonal crossgrid.  The front is just lightly quilted to secure it.  I hope it is well received!  Now back to work I go!

Christmas Tree Pattern

I have a paper pieced Christmas themed quilt that I have been working on for a few years now.  I thought it was time to make a little more progress on it so I designed this Christmas Tree block!  I chose whimsical fabrics to suit the other blocks I’ve made so far.  I fussy cut some scallops along the edge of the tree skirt and selected a green print that suggests ornaments.

I also wanted to show how it could be so modern by changing fabric selections. Here I used solids only and I played with the pattern in the tree skirt.

There is also a conveniently positioned horizontal seam should you choose to piece in a floor line.  There are lots of fun options!

The pattern is available as a PDF download in my shops!  Direct links are in my sidebar.  Remember, if you are an international customer, please shop in the Pattern Shop here on my website.

Happy holidays!

 

Arboreal Quilt


Arboreal Quilt by Amy Friend

I’m really happy with the way this quilt turned out!  I designed a paper pieced block using my improv paper piecing method.  The inspiration for my block design was the branching of a tree.  When I incorporated the mirror image of the block into the layout and then inverted every other row, I got this great repeating pattern.

Arboreal by Amy Friend

Admittedly, the finished quilt doesn’t scream tree branches, but I love that!  It does have a really cool organic feel to it due to its improvisational design roots.

Arboreal by Amy Friend

I have been wanting to make a quilt that incorporated cinnamon and pink for awhile now.  I love these colors…so adding mustard (another favorite) only made it better!  I colored and recolored the design in EQ7 until I hit upon this combination and it felt right. It certainly feels like fall to me so I am grateful that I was able to photograph it before the leaves were covered with snow.  The solids are a mix of Kona and Bella Solids and the cinnamon is a basic by Cotton + Steel with a tiny scattered dot.

Arboreal Quilting by Amy Friend

The quilting is straight line in 3 shades of Aurifil 50 weight thread. I matched the pink background fabric for the majority of the quilting using #2410 but I also stitched the occasional line in cinnamon and mustard. I love the subtle variation.

If you are intrigued by this design process, I encourage you to order my upcoming book, Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design. I explain my technique and provide a series of exercises to encourage you to design your own blocks. I think you will enjoy it!

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Seam Rippers Coming Tomorrow!

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Tomorrow morning I will be listing 10 seam rippers, one necklace seam ripper and 4 new “basting buddies” (used to close safety pins when basting quilts).  You can find them in my Etsy shop and they ship in the US only.  They would be the perfect Christmas gift for the quilter who has everything!

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Pat Sloan’s Mega Fun Book Tour

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I am happy to join Pat Sloan in this book tour celebrating the publication of her millionth book (oh wait, I guess it is just number 30 something)!  She is one prolific writer/creator of all things quilting related!  This time, she is sharing basic information about machine and free motion quilting in her latest book titled Teach me to Machine Quilt. I think her book is a great resource for those who are interested in learning how to machine quilt their own quilts at home rather than sending everything out to a long arm quilter.  I agree wholeheartedly with many of her tips from my own experiences gained from quilting on my domestic machine.
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Since Pat is normally the person interviewing others on her podcast, I thought it might be fun to interview her after I read her book!  Here is our conversation.
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Amy:  Pat, first off, you like basting?  I am pretty sure you are the first person that I have ever heard say that.  What is it that you like about the process?
Pat:  Yes I really do like basting!  When I’m basting I think of it as kind of a ‘zen’ moment with my quilt. I find it soothing and relaxing as the way I do this is not stressful. I’m not crawling around on the ground.. I’m standing at a table ..looking out the window and enjoying the moment. Maybe I need a course in ‘zen basting’!
I guess I can see Pat’s point, though, I do crawl around on the floor so perhaps if I used her method I would find the process even more enjoyable. For me though, basting is a great time to consider quilting plans as your quilt is all smoothed out in front of you.

Amy:  I am happy to see that you emphasized the importance of basting. I completely agree.  Do you have a story related to an early incident that taught you the importance of basting?

Pat:  Not a recent one, but one from years past. I didn’t so such a great job of it years ago.. so when I flipped over my quilt there was this BIG fold in the backing.. ack! Being resourceful and not wanting to pick out stitches, I  appliqued the fold down flat.. fixed that problem! BUT I really didn’t want to repeat it.

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Amy:  I noticed that you state that you normally quilt with 10-12 stitches per inch using your walking foot. I have never looked at it that way. I normally use a stitch length of 3.5 -4 mm.  Is that comparable?  How long is your stitch?

Pat:  I like to use a ruler to show you how to check because it’s something that we can see and relate to.  Whatever stitch number on your machine produces that  distance is what I’d try first. Then adjust if it’s not smooth.

Amy:  I am glad that you give permission to tie off and start again if you run out of bobbin thread in the middle of a row.  I often debate that. Sometimes, I think it is worth ripping out and starting again. Do you ever do that?

Pat:  Oh my… really? You will rip out and start again? Honestly it never occurred to me to do that. That’s a lot of extra work Amy for … what?  Who will know? You can thread the tails and embed in the batting like a hand quilter does and it’s all hidden.

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Amy:  You mentioned the importance of keeping the weight of the quilt on the table and off the floor while quilting.  Again, I completely agree and actually had my husband build me a table where the machine is set close to the edge and I have a large span of table space to my left to hold the quilt.  What kind of set up works for you?

Pat:  This is a great set up! Plus I have my table up against the wall so that the quilt can’t fall off the backside. It puddles up against the wall allowing me time to rearrange it.

Amy:  Also, I love your tension trouble shooting section and will refer to it the next time I am in trouble.  I think it’s something that quilters often try to ignore but the fix is actually pretty simple, don’t you agree?

Pat:  In freemotion quilting people tend to stress over tension.. but you are right, it’s not hard. It’s a mind set. Just turn the knob a little and test again!

Thank you for the interview Pat!

Please visit the other stops on Pat’s Mega Fun Book Tour.  They are as follows:

Nov 18

Nov 19

Nov 20

Nov 21

Nov 22

Nov 23

Nov 25

Nov 26 – My Birthday!!!

Nov 28

Nov 29

Nov 30

Pat is offering a great giveaway too!  You have a chance to win one of five copies of her book.  To enter, follow this link. Good luck!

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Paper Pattern Gift Set–Special Offer!

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I do not normally list my paper patterns in my Etsy shop, but rather offer digital downloads. I thought it might be fun to have a limited time offer for holiday gift giving where I made the paper patterns available as gift sets.  I have set up a listing for a Paper Pattern Gift Set.  There is a list of patterns that are available on paper from which to choose.  Simply list three of them in the comments section of your order and they will be shipped to you with free Priority Mail shipping (US only)!  I will include a postcard as a bonus!

Happy holidays!

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Heartland Tour Roundup

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Today marks the end of a successful two week blog tour that I hosted for Pat Bravo to celebrate her Heartland Fabric collection. Here is a quick round up of the projects:

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Week One

We have a plus quilt from Debbie, knit baby pants from Jess, a top and bag from Charise, a Maker’s Tote by Jade, a tumbler quilt top from Amanda, and a modern baby quilt from Kari.

 

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Week Two

We saw Stephanie make a quilted garment, Christopher a mini quilt, Kerry a moose couple, Nichole a hoop trio and a pillow cover from Krista.

Thank you to all the participants, to Pat and to those of you who followed the tour!

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Tell Me A Story Holiday Sewalong–Have you Joined?

I hope you have already ordered your book and fabric so that you can play along with my Tell Me A Story Holiday sewalong for a chance at winning some great prizes! All the details can be found here.  If not, you still have plenty of time!

Today I am sharing my second finished pillow.

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

I’ve been sharing all the blocks that went into the pillow on Instagram and here is a round up with all their stories!

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

Fenwick the elf found the most perfect tree in all the forest for his Christmas tree.  With great pride, he set the star on top!

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

This polar bear searched the forest floor for a perfect flower, untouched by frost, to give to his beloved.  But will she come?

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

Bobby is staring at that bike, willing it to be under the tree on Christmas morning.  His dreams are not full of sugar plums, but rather, tires!

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

The little elf held up his snowman chain and told his class, “Inspiration is everywhere!”

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

I let my Instagram followers make up stories for this one.  What a fun idea that turned out to be!  To read the stories on IG, just look for my photostream @duringquietime.  After that, I took a few names and sent a few direct messages and here are some more stories that they wrote for me:

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

@kidgiddy volunteered to write the story for this block:  The little reindeer were lost in the peppermint forest.  Even Rudolph was a bit concerned…until Vixen came along and reminded him that his nose could help them find their way home.

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

@quiltyobsession wrote the story for this block:  Lola couldn’t wait until she was old enough to sing in the elf choir like her big sister Lily.  For now, she is just happy that she gets to ring the bell.

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

@ tracybugcreative wrote: Noelle was often seen chatting alone with the little birds.  This one she names “Blue-ish.”  They met daily so Noelle could teach Blue-ish new songs.  Today, everyone was astonished when we heard Noelle singing Jingle Bells and Blue-ish echoed back a lovely refrain.  Everyone but Noelle!

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

Margaret skated around the frozen pond trying to catch the flakes of snow as they fell.

I hope you have been enjoying this sewalong!  Remember, you can play along and enter to win these great prizes!

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November Aurifil Designer of the Month: Kim Niedzwiecki

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The designer of the month for November is Kim Niedzwiecki, also known as Go Go Kim!

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She has designed this free block called Geese Tracks.  You can find the block and an interview with Kim here.  I love the description of her historical town–makes me want to go there with my love of history!

Don’t forget, by submitting a photo of your block online, you will be entered for a chance to win a box of Aurifil thread…seriously, for sewing a single block!  There is only one more block to go this year.  Can you believe it?

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EQ Mini Giveaway!

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I’m here to tell you about a new product called EQ Mini!  I have been a happy EQ7 user for quite a few years now.  It’s a complicated but useful program that has allowed me to create some really intricate paper pieced patterns.  I highly recommend it but it isn’t for everyone. For some, it is more than they need and too much to comprehend all at once.  I know a number of people who have purchased it and put it away because it felt overwhelming.  EQ Mini is a great way to get your feet wet and get accustomed to designing using a software package.  You might find that it is just right for you or you might choose to upgrade later on.

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Let me tell you a little bit about it.  When you download EQ Mini, you being by choosing your quilt layout from the selections shown above.  You can pick a traditional grid layout or turn it on point; you can work with strips that are either horizontal or vertical.  And it’s super easy to adapt these designs in the next step called “adjust layout”.  You can change the number of rows, block size, and sashing width.

In the next step, “edit borders,” you can decide to add a border and adjust its width.  You can also choose to piece the border in a number of different ways.

And finally, in the last screen, “design quilt,” you pick blocks from a block library and place them in the layout.  Then you can choose solid colors and fabric patterns and color in the blocks with a few simple clicks of your mouse.

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Here is a very basic quilt that I designed by choosing a traditional grid layout with no sashing or borders.  Then I selected a Classically Pieced-Diamond in Square block.  I recolored it using solid colors from the fabric library.

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Depending on the tool that you select from the tool bar in the far right, you can change all the blue to another color in one click.  Or, you can change the color of one individual piece, should you want to create a scrappy design.

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Here’s an example of the log cabin block inserted into the “on point” grid and recolored with a variety of grey and peach fabric prints provided in the fabric library.

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I decided to try adding a border and it was a cinch!

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I think that the row quilt layout is a really great feature.  You can quickly create a quilt like this using the “Point A” selection.  I adjusted the number of points in a row, the height of the row and length of the row.  Then I colored the triangles.

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Next, I changed the coloring of the same layout to try a zig zag.  It was so quick and easy.  And it gives you a really good idea of what your options are for your finished quilt.  It also allows you to print estimated fabric yardage for your design (which I have found to be quite accurate in EQ7).

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EQ Mini is a great tool for those who want to create layouts of various styles with blocks that are provided by the software.  If you need more options than that and want to design your own blocks, you will need EQ7.  But now, there is an EQ for everyone!

If you would like a chance to win a copy of EQ Mini, please visit my IG account today.  You can find me @duringquiettime.  Look for the graphic below in my photostream.  Leave a comment for one entry.  Tag friends in additional comments for more entries!  The giveaway will run from the 14th -17th.  On the evening of the 17th, I will draw one lucky winner’s name!

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If you want to learn more about EQ Mini, visit their website here.  If you want to go ahead and jump in, use the code DQTF16 for a 20% discount on the software.

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Gilmore Girls Sewalong Part 5

Jess's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

If you are wondering what this coffee cup craziness is all about, just refer to earlier posts!

This coffee cup belongs to Rory’s second boyfriend, Jess.  First off, though he cut school and was unmotivated academically, he was super smart and always had a book in his hand.  Now, for the funny part, @stitchmischief reminded me of the episode where Jess went to the Gilmore house for Friday night dinner with a black eye.  Everyone thought Dean did it but Jess wouldn’t say.  He was too embarrassed because a swan had attacked him!  And I happened to have swan fabric!  The black fabric up top reminds me of Jess’s leather jacket.

Taylor's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

This is Taylor Doose’s cup. Taylor runs Doose’s Market, hence the strawberries.  And he also opened Taylor’s Olde Fashioned Soda Shoppe next to Lukes (with the big window in the wall inbetween!).  I used sprinkles up at the top and a fun ice cream and candy print.  Taylor is also Town Selectman but cute gavel fabric doesn’t exist!

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Here is where I am at! I am making 3 more cups and then putting this top together!

If you would like to sew along, the Rise and Shine Coffee Cup pattern is available in all my shops (links in sidebar).

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Gilmore Girls Sewalong Part 4!

Mrs. Kim's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

I am continuing to make coffee cups using my Rise and Shine Coffee pattern (available in my Etsy, Craftsy and website shops) to suit the personalities of the main characters in the Gilmore Girls television series.

You know this is Mrs. Kim’s cup, right?  Mrs. Kim is Lane’s mother.  She owns an antique shop in Stars Hollow.  She is very strict and religious, often hosting Bible study in her home.  She also helped Lane’s fiance rewrite a pop song to help him find his potential and demonstrate that he could support Lane.

Lane's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

This is Lane’s coffee cup.  Lane is Mrs. Kim’s daughter and Rory’s best friend. She was raised in a strict household where she hid things like rock CDs and tshirts under her floorboards (see the tiny floorboard strip?).  She joins a band where she is a drummer. That’s how she meets her husband Zack who loves her signature glasses and misses them when she tries contacts.

Christopher's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

This is Christopher’s coffee cup.  Christopher is Rory’s Dad.  He owned an Indian motorcycle (and yes, that’s an actual Indian motorcycle fussy cut that I tracked down!).  After a long period of absence, he appeared at the house with a dictionary for Rory. I highlighted the word “time” in the dictionary print because Lorelai and Christopher always had such bad timing.  Christopher and Lorelai got married spontaneously on a trip to Paris.  The marriage didn’t last.

Miss Patty's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

This is the last cup for today and it has to be Miss Patty’s, right?  Miss Patty runs a dance studio in Stars Hollow.  She is always alluding to former romances and shooting looks at young men.  I used arrows to suggest cupids arrows and romance.  The musical notes are for Miss Patty’s past as a singer.

I’m having lots of fun with this and hoping that you are too! I plan to sew 3 more cups and then make these into a quilt top!

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