The Paper-Pieced Home

The Paper-Pieced Home - jacket art
I was invited to participate in Penny’s blog hop for her new book, The Paper-Pieced Home.  Of course I said yes because I love sharing the joy of paper piecing!
I like it when books reflect their author’s style and this book certainly does just that. I think I could have guessed that this was a book by Penny just looking at the cover!  Her style is very recognizable as are her fabric and subject choices.  Everything has a retro vibe, simple lines and whimsy.  If you enjoy the work you typically see on her blog, then you will love her book as well. The book comes with a CD from which you can print the pattern pieces at the actual size with no need for enlargement.  There are 40 blocks and 10 projects in the book.
I was excited to hear that Penny had written a book and ordered it as soon as it came out. I particularly like the BBQ Grill Block (Lee chose this one for her stop on the blog hop).  It’s just a fun block of a subject that I don’t think I would have thought of!  Since Lee snagged that block before me, I chose to sew the Sleeveless Dress block.
Sleeveless Dress
What I didn’t realize is that I was signing up for a block with a Y seam!  I do try to avoid them but it went together just fine.  They really aren’t such a big deal.  I realize that every time I am forced to do one.  So, don’t let it stop you.  Penny made her version in solids so I decided to go with prints.  I think it makes for a pretty spring time dress!  I am not sure what I will make with the block yet–suggestions are welcome!
Please take a moment to click through the links to see the blocks that others have sewn for the hop. I am particularly in love with Ayumi’s take on the Alli-Gator Block for her nephew.
3/16       McCall’s Quilting / Sewing Machine Block
3/17       Love of Quilting / Review
3/17       Sandi Sawa Hazlewood  of Crafty Planner / Watering Can Block
3/18       Quilty Pleasure (Quiltmaker blog) / Review
3/18       Imagine Gnats / Rotary Phone Block
3/20       Verykerryberry / Lion Block
3/21       Artisania / Cast-Iron Skillet Block
3/23       Where the Orchids Grow / Lamp Block
3/24       Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt / Layer Cake Block
3/24       House on Hill Road / Oven Mitt Block
3/24       Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced / BBQ Grill Block
3/26       Pink Penguin / Allie-Gator Block
3/26       A Happy Stitch / Giraffe Block
3/27       Bijou Lovely / Jar Block
3/27       Two Little Banshees / Saucepan Block
3/27       Charise Creates / Espresso Mug Block
3/30       Karen Lewis Textiles / Couch Block
3/31       Poppyprint / Clawfoot Tub Block
3/31       One Shabby Chick / Stack of Books Block
3/31       During Quiet Time / Sleeveless Dress Block
4/06       Pat Sloan The Voice of Quilting / Author Podcast Interview

More information on the book can be found here on the Interweave site:

The Paper-Pieced Home: Quilting a Household One Block at a Time

By Penny Layman

Interweave/F+W; $26.99

Would you like to win a free copy of Penny’s book? I will draw a winner one week from today. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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First Aid Kit Error

First Aid Kit by Amy Friend

Thank you to one of my readers, Melanie, for pointing out an error in my First Aid Kit pattern as it appears in Fat Quarters: Small Fabrics, More Than 50 Big Ideas.  On page 47, step 6, the directions read “Take the two 2 1/2 x 7 1/2-inch strips of exterior fabric A that remain and fuse fleece to the back.”  My original instructions read “Take the two long strips of exterior fabric that remain and fuse fleece to the back.”  In an attempt to be more precise, someone added the dimensions but the incorrect dimensions.  You would want to use the 1 1/2″ x 20″ strips. My apologies to anyone who got confused!  These things happen!

Triangle Play

Triangles WIP by Amy Friend

Behind the scenes, I have been working on a new pattern that I drew up a number of months ago now. It’s been nagging at me to give it some attention so I decided to start it. I am hoping that my color palette will also help usher in the spring but somehow I doubt it.  As I was working on these yesterday, it was snowing yet again, making this Boston’s snowiest year on record. Hooray?

This pattern is paper pieced and in my design book I have it dubbed “Triangle Play.”  I am not sure what its ultimate name will be but that’s its working title!  I am really enjoying sewing with these soothing shades of peach and melon and a couple of shades of grey that deviate from my usual go to greys.  I have about a dozen blocks sewn but have quite a few more to go before I can share a quilt top here.  If you want to follow my progress, I have been sharing some pictures on Instagram.

I have been asked if I will offer this pattern for sale.  Yes, I will.  I will work on writing it up as soon as the quilt is finished.  Thank you for your interest!

Baguette Quilt Pattern Available as PDF

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I have been working to add some of my recent patterns to my pdf offerings.  I just listed Baguette in all of my pattern shops-Etsy, Craftsy and my own pattern shop (not just for international customers-for anyone).  See links in the sidebar!

Baguette by Amy Friend

I still love, love, love the quilting that I did on this one, especially now that it is done!  It was rather back breaking!

Next up will be my Haberdashery pattern. I have gotten lots of requests for it.  Thank you for your patience!

 

Caitlyn’s Little House on the Prairie Quilt

littlehousebutton

Caitlyn's quilt

 

Oh, I can’t begin to tell you how happy this picture makes me!  This Little House on the Prairie Sew Along quilt was completed by Caitlyn and her mom, Tiffany.  Can you believe that Caitlyn is only in kindergarten?  Tiffany and Caitlyn have been so much fun during this sew along. They contributed the maple leaf block, shared each block with me on IG, and chatted through email.  Tiffany was nearly always the first to check out the new block patterns and caught a couple of typos in them which saved all of you from cutting mistakes and me from embarrassment.  I just love the energy with which they approached this project and how fun that made it for me and Lily.

We are thinking that we might have to do this again in a couple of years!

If you would like to make a Little House on the Prairie quilt, it’s not too late!  The block ideas and patterns will remain on my blog so you can jump in when you have the time and desire.  The best way to pull up all the posts is to type in “little house on the prairie” in the Search bar near the top of my sidebar.

Thank you again Tiffany and Caitlyn for sewing with us and for allowing me to share the picture of your completed quilt here.  If you finish a Little House quilt, make sure you email me a picture!

 

Fantasia Book Bag


Fantasia Book Bag by Amy Friend

Have you seen Sara Lawson’s new collection for Art Gallery Fabrics?  It’s called Fantasia and and it features unicorns! My oldest daughter is in heaven! Horses/unicorns and fantasy novels are her favorites. You can see the whole collection here.

Sara was kind enough to send me two half yard pieces to make this library bag for my daughter. I made sure that I fussy cut the front panel to feature the unicorn, front and center. The interior is lined with a beautiful cream colored print with flowers called Bous Trail Bluet. I let my daughter choose some fabric for the straps, and wouldn’t you know that she went straight for my Netorious by Cotton + Steel? It’s a great coordinate for this print though so it was a good call.

Fantasia Book Bag by Amy Friend

This is such a simple project but it suits Lily’s needs so well. I used HeatnBond Fusible Fleece for the interfacing-both for the body and the handles-so the bag has some heft to it to lug all her books. It was time for a new book bag. Lily’s old bag has worn through the bottom from all the hard labor it has performed over the years. It was made 5 years ago when she was just four, using horrible blue bull dog fabric she chose herself. You can see it here for a laugh. I think it is time that my 3rd grader upgrades to this bag covered with fantastical unicorns and lined with beautiful flowers.  She was very happy to see it all finished this morning.  I think unicorn dresses for the girls might be in my future.

Thank you Sara!

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Fat Quarters: Small Fabrics, More Than 50 Big Ideas

Fat Quarters: Small Fabrics, More Than 50 Big Ideas

I wanted to let you know that Fat Quarters: Small Fabrics, More Than 50 Big Ideas, a collaborative book published by Lark Crafts, will be released in March.  I know you all have lots of fat quarters in your stash!  Hopefully this book will give you some new ideas to use them up.  There are lots of familiar names in the contributor section: Maureen Cracknell, Beki Lambert, Kaye Prince, Abby Glassenberg, Malka Dubrawsky, Shannon Cook and more.  Projects range from items to make for babies/kids, to bags, quilts, pillows, home decor, wearables and gifts.  I have four projects in this collective and would like to share them with you today.

Hothouse Flower Pillows by Amy Friend

I might as well start with my Hothouse Pillow Set since one of my pillows is sitting pretty there on the cover!

Hothouse Flower Pillows by Amy Friend

The pillow pattern is an 18″ paper pieced block.  It makes terrific pillows but I would also love to see a quilt made up using these blocks and some soft feminine colors.  Wouldn’t that be pretty?

First Aid Kit by Amy Friend

I created a First Aid Kit for the bag portion of the book. It’s a practical item that everyone can use.  It would be perfect to hold some band aids, headache medicine, etc. in the car for those little emergencies that come up while traveling.

 

First Aid Kit by Amy Friend

This is a small bag but it fits quite a bit!  Someone on Instagram said that this would make a great teacher’s gift, filled with bandaids for the classroom. I think that is a great idea.

Patchwork Sewing Machine Cover by Amy Friend

If you are a long time reader, you have seen this project before.  But my patchwork sewing machine cover pattern is also included in the book. The patchwork was inspired by stitches; the cross stitch, straight stitch, and zig zag!

Groovy Vibes Quilt by Amy Friend

And finally, you will find my Groovy Vibes Quilt made from Pat Bravo’s Carnaby Street collection.  I used the 8″ Sizzix Tumbler die which makes quick work of a fat quarter, cutting 4 perfect shapes from each. I love this project idea for a fat quarter stack, so much so that this is the second quilt I have made like this; the first using Splendor 1920 by Bari J.

Groovy Vibes detail by Amy Friend

In keeping with the lava lamp shape, and “groovy” feel of Pat Bravo’s collection, I chose to quilt in what I am calling lava lamp bubbles.  I cut circles (also using the Sizzix) out of contact paper in 4 sizes and stuck them on the quilt.  Then I free motion quilted a wavy line up each column and around the circles as I came to them.  As I made the quilt, I kept thinking that it seemed most appropriate for a teenage girl.  Happily, this quilt now lives with one who is enjoying it!

You can preorder the book right here so that you can see all the other fun projects.  I  hope you get to spend some time sewing this weekend!

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A Couple of Updates-Bookkeeping!

Sweet Tea Pattern by Amy Friend for BasicGrey

I just wanted to pop in to let you know that my Sweet Tea Quilt Pattern for BasicGrey is now available as a PDF download from any of my three pattern shops.  See the links in my sidebar for Etsy, Craftsy and my pattern shop.  Just as a reminder, currently my Etsy and Craftsy shops are for US customers only due to the VAT. (I do know that Etsy is now handling the VAT but my Paypal settings remain US only so I can keep my Craftsy shop open.)  However, my pattern shop here on my blog is open to everyone, international and domestic with all the same pattern offerings. I have been having a little trouble with some of my pattern download links going to spam.  We took measures yesterday to make my links less “spammy” which should help. However, if you don’t receive your pattern download link immediately, shoot me an email and I will send it to you.  No worries!

Also, I wanted to draw your attention to my header.  I have added a “Completed Quilts” category and most of my quilts are up there now. I still have some to add but from now on, I will add each quilt there as I complete it.  If you are trying to remember something about one of my quilts, click on the picture and it will bring you to one of my blog posts about that quilt.  Searching in the sidebar will bring you more posts if there were multiple posts written.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Notebook Pouch Tutorial from Fresh-Squeezed Fabrics

Notebook Pouch Tutorial

My long time sponsor, Randi from Fresh-Squeezed Fabrics, is visiting my blog today to share a tutorial with you!  She recently made her daughter a notebook pouch and has drafted up a pattern to share.  I love her fabric selections here.  She used Color Theory by V and Co for Moda and you can find the whole line in her shop.

Randi’s shop always has a fresh selection of fabrics ranging from sweet to modern.  And you have to check out her “Sale of the Week” section for great buys that are constantly changing.

Thank you Randi for sharing this tutorial with my readers.

The tutorial can be downloaded right here: Notebook Pouch Tutorial

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QuiltCon

Curious by Amy Friend

Did you go to QuiltCon? Did you love it? I hope so! I didn’t attend this time though I hope to in the future. It’s held during school vacation week here in Massachusetts which makes it even trickier to get away than usual (which is tricky enough for a mother of three). But I was represented at QuiltCon by my quilts at least! Fortunately, some nice friends photographed them for me too.

I was shocked to learn that my mini quilt, Curious, received third place in the small quilts category. I had entered my quilts with no expectations whatsoever. I was just happy that they were included in the show. So this was really a bonus.  Elizabeth Hartman does such a nice job with the ribbons too.

Haberdashery

My Haberdashery quilt was also hanging. It was in the Use of Negative Space category.

Kite Tails by Amy Friend

Kite Tails was there as part of the MQG Pattern of the Month display.

Melon Ice by Amy Friend

And Melon Ice was there as part of the MQG Showcase.

I really enjoyed seeing pictures of all the quilts that hung in the show, made by quilters all over the world. Thanks to everyone who shared them on IG for those of us at home!

I also loved seeing the pictures of the charity quilts. That was really rewarding after having worked with the MQG Charity Committee to plan and organize this portion of QuiltCon.

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My guild, the Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild, made this quilt for the charity of our choice. So many beautiful and creative quilts were made by approximately 60 guilds and groups of individual members.  Thank you to everyone who participated! There are some lucky charities out there, ready to receive some beautiful quilts.

Cocorico Traveling Bee

traveling bee

I am embarking upon my first traveling bee with a group of ladies from my Cocorico bee, just those that live in the US for shipping reasons.  Our starting blocks must include at least one paper pieced block and a note with directions for the quilt.  We then send it off and each member can add to the quilt as they like.  It will return to me as a complete quilt top.

I decided to use these two orphan blocks that I like but had been sitting around for way too long!  The block on the left uses this free pattern by Julianna. The block on the right is my sewing machine block which can be purchased here. I only ask that my bee members keep to the color pallete present in these blocks: mustard, grays, soft blue/gray, cream, and black. I would love to see some words added like “maker” or “sew” or “stitch.”

traveling bee

I am including these fabrics in case anyone wants to add them to their blocks.

Happy travels!

PS Sorry for the photography today. I normally take my pictures under lights in my barn but it is only 3 degrees out and I can’t stand to go out there!

Parisian Dress Shop Window Pattern

Parisian Dress Shop Window SquareCover

I just listed a new paper pieced pattern in my shops! I designed this block for Charise for the Cocorico Bee.  Her theme is Paris.  I decided to design a dress shop window.  The window has curtains inside and an awning above.  In the window, you can see a dress form with a fancy dress that I would love an occasion to wear!

Parisian Dress Shop Window by Amy Friend, detail

The white dress has a fur collar with matching belt and a flutter hemline.

Parisian Dress Shop Window by Amy Friend, detail

Outside the shop there is a sign that you can fussy cut. I found the perfect fussy cut from a Riley Blake Lost and Found 2 print.  You can purchase that print as well as the text that I used for the building exterior at Sew Me A Song.

Parisian Dress Shop Window by Amy Friend

I had so much fun designing and sewing this block. I look forward to seeing other versions sewn.  You can purchase the pattern in my Etsy or Craftsy shops if you are a US resident (see button in sidebar) or at my Pattern Shop (see button in side bar and header) regardless of where you live.

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Paper Pieced Modern Blog Hop

I was asked to join Amy Garro’s blog hop for her new title, Paper Pieced Modern: 13 Stunning Quilts Step-by-Step Visual Guide.  Amy blogs at 13 Spools, if you are not yet familiar with her work.  Like me, she enjoys making modern, paper pieced quilts.  I am going to share one of her designs in my post today.  It’s called Ceiling Tiles.  I decided to interview Amy to mix things up.  Here goes!
Photo by C&T Publishing

Photo by C&T Publishing

During Quiet Time:  What’s your favorite thing about this design?
Amy Garro:  Hmm, my favorite thing about this design is that it’s so simple. Like a lot of my quilts, it has sharp angles, but this one is much more restful to look at. It has a feeling of “quiet activity” to me – It’s not so quiet as, say, Apple Stars (from the book), or my Plus quilt, but it is calming to me with its minimal and repetitive design.
Ceiling Tiles 1
During Quiet Time:  How did you arrive at the name?  Were you inspired by actual ceiling tiles somewhere?  If so, where and do you have a picture?
Amy Garro:  So I actually named this quilt after I designed it. I was fiddling around with the single shape in the quilt, finding the perfect combination of overlap & repeat. When I settled on a design I realized it looked like some lights in a ballroom that I was once in – but I can’t remember which one! When I decided to name the quilt, I thought of “Ceiling Tiles” and it just stuck. “Ballroom Light Fixture” was not nearly so catchy, haha.
During Quiet Time:  Sometimes when I make a quilt I think of another color palette that I would love to see the pattern made up in (but there is only so much time in a day).  Is there another way you’d love to see this quilt made?
Amy Garro:  There is definitely another colorway I’d love to see this in! I think red, white, and gray would make a fabulous Christmas season quilt, and I really want to sew it sometime. I had originally planned this to be a cream + red quilt, so I think that’s way I’m gravitating towards those colors. I actually gained my inspiration for that original colorway from this quilt.
ceiling tiles original colorway
This was Amy’s original colorway.
christmas ceiling tiles
This is a mock up of a Christmas inspired colorway.
During Quiet Time:  What pattern designers influence your work and how?
Amy Garro:  There aren’t that many, actually. I tend to look toward architecture, blueprints, masonry, and various mathematical and electrical sketches for inspiration. A lot of my designs actually come from sketches my husband draws up for me. I also get a lot of inspiration from Charlotte (http://displacementactivity.com). And I spend ridiculous amounts of time on Pinterest, which is a visual feast! I look there for color palette and quilting ideas. Angela Walters, obviously, is a great source of inspiration for that. Otherwise, there are tons of designers who don’t necessarily influence my work directly, but whose work I admire incredibly: you, for starters, and then Carolyn Friedlander (http://carolynfriedlander.com/), Casey York (https://studioloblog.wordpress.com/), Kyndra Brown (http://www.sewlio.com), Meg Callahan (http://megcallahan.com/) – I could go on and on!
During Quiet Time:  I promise I didn’t ask Amy for that unexpected compliment!
During Quiet Time:  What fabric designs/designers do you particularly gravitate toward when choosing fabrics for your quilts and why?
Amy Garro:  My obsession with Carolyn Friedlander & Parson Gray is quite public by now, haha! I lean towards masculine prints, solids, and linens. When I do use prints, my preference is to use monochromatic prints, or ones with only 2 or 3 colors (including white). Though I love how they look on their own, I’m not a big multi-colored print girl when it comes to putting fabrics in a quilt.
During Quiet Time: I tend to gravitate toward similar “blenders” so this is something I think we have in common.
During Quiet Time:  Do you consider all your work to be modern or a mix of modern and traditional?
Amy Garro:  I’d love to say I’m just straight-up modern, because that’s how it feels to me, yet I look at a lot of my quilts and see how they could be classified as modern-traditionalism, or even just traditional, because of my reliance on a gridded-block system, and complete lack of improv-quilting. I would say that there tends to be an emphasis on strong lines and sharp points in most of my work. Even my quilts that some might classify as traditional (like this quilt, or my Faceted Jewels II have these characteristics. That makes them still seem very “me” from my point of view.
During Quiet Time:  What’s your favorite quilt in the book and why?
Amy Garro:  Is it too predictable and  boring to say the cover quilt? That’s definitely it! Icy Waters.  We were having some difficulty squeezing everything into the page count, and seeing as it took up a ridiculous amount of pages, I suggested cutting it – and got a big, fat no on that one from the publisher! They definitely wanted it in there. That was a huge compliment to me, because it was really hard for me to tell what they liked or didn’t like (which is probably them being very professional). I was pretty thrilled to see they used that for the cover.
During Quiet Time:  Thank you for your interview Amy!  This quilt and the cover quilt are my personal favorites!  I lean toward blues and creams and whites but I also like the designs.  Best of luck with your book!
If my readers would like to win a copy (Physical copies available for US winners, and e-copies for international winners!) C+T is kindly offering up one as a prize!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take a minute to check out the other quilts in the book by hopping from one blog to the next.

Feb 5th – Lindsay @ Lindsay Sews

Feb 6th – Charlotte @ Displacement Activity

Feb 7th – Molli @ Molli Sparkles

Feb 8th – Elise @ Lovelea Designs

Feb 9th – Amy guest posting @ C&T Publishing

Feb 10th – Darcie @ The Seam Allowance

Feb 11th – Christa @ Christa Quilts

Feb 12th – Amy guest posting @ Craft Buds

Feb 13th – Amy @ 13 Spools

Feb 14th – Chelsea @ Patch the Giraffe

Feb 15th – Amy @ During Quiet Time

Feb 16th – Wrap-up post back at 13 Spools

Sailor Top

sailortop
I’m sorry I have been a bit absent lately! I have been working on some projects that I can’t share yet and shoveling and shoveling and shoveling. Have you read all about the blizzards in New England? My kids are out of school all this week while they shovel snow off the school roofs. And we are expecting another blizzard this weekend. I have really never experienced snow in quantities like this before.  It has become tiresome to say the least.
To cheer myself up, I made a spring top. I tried the Sailor Top pattern by Fancy Tiger Crafts. I bought the Cotton + Steel Lawn from Gotham Quilts Super Bowl Flash Sale. I don’t watch football so it was the perfect sale for me! It had my full attention! I really like this pattern. It came together well and it is very wearable. The lawn feels great. I am going to work on another spring top soon in hopes that spring will come.  Forgive me for I lack decent selfie skills. I don’t know how garment sewists do it. Give me a quilt to photograph over a top any day!

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Improv Fans Mini Quilt

Improv Fans Mini by Amy Friend

Last week I worked on this mini for our Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild exhibit at this year’s The Gathering in Manchester, NH.  Our guild has been asked to create an exhibit that will give a clear idea of what constitutes modern quilting.  So, we are attempting to include only quilts that have alternate gridwork, negative space, solids, improv, bold colors, etc.  For one portion of the exhibit, each member has been asked to make a mini measuring 18″ or 22″ square.  They are to be modern takes on traditional blocks and use only solids.  We were assigned traditional blocks and mine was the Grandmother’s Fan. You can see a sample here.

Improv Fans Mini by Amy Friend

I decided to take an improvisational approach to the block. I chose a selection of Kona and Pure Elements solids based loosely on the Cotton + Steel color scheme.  I then handcut and randomly pieced a small fan and three larger arcs.

Improv Fans Mini by Amy Friend

I hand cut curves and sewed the arcs together. I squared up after adding each new arc.

Improv Fans Mini by Amy Friend

I had my quilting planned from the beginning. I quilted in arcs from the lower left to upper right corner, spaced 1/4″ apart.  Then I reversed the arc and quilted a wide band through the quilt in the opposite direction. I love how the lines crisscross and overlap and form diamonds.

Improv Fans by Amy Friend

I had so much fun with this mini!  While paper piecing is my go to technique, I love to mix it up once in awhile.  I’m looking forward to seeing what the other members of my guild come up with. I think it will be a fun portion of the exhibit and ALL members’ minis will be accepted so everyone has a chance to have their work shown in the exhibit.

 

XOXO Mini Tutorial from Gotham Quilts

XOXOmini
I’d like to welcome Ivete from Gotham Quilts today. She has offered to share a free tutorial with my readers just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Ivete says:

“I’ve had an idea for a simple XOXO mini wall quilt for a while now, and with Valentine’s Day around the corner this was the perfect time to finally do it!

The sample is made in Tula Pink Moon Shine, her latest collection, but I can see making this with some Cotton & Steel, or maybe in all solids? Or bold black and white would be fun too, for a totally different look! Oooh, or how cute would it be with a text print as the background? So many ideas . . . I may have to make another one for myself!

Looking to make one in the same fabrics I used? We have a kit available in our shop here.

Please share your XOXO mini on Instagram and tag it with the hastag #xoxomini so that I can see your creation! I can’t wait to see your versions start to pop up in my feed. Oh, and follow us on Instagram @gothamquilts!”

Download the free pdf tutorial for the XOXO mini here.

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Make It, Take It

Make It, Take It Cover

I’m happy to help my friend Krista spread her good news today!  She has authored a book titled Make It, Take It, published by Martingale.  It’s so nice that she can talk about the book now after having kept quiet for so long!  This is the fun part.

Let me tell you about the book.  It’s is a collection of projects divided in half:  projects you might make to bring with you on retreat (think project bags, etc) and then projects you might make while on retreat (placemats, pillows, etc).  Krista talks a bit about her extensive experience running retreats and each contributor shares their experiences attending retreats.  I designed two projects for the book that I will show you later on as part of the blog hop scheduled for April.  But you can see one of my projects on the cover!  It’s the pillow in the top right corner. It’s paper pieced…shocker, right?  The thing that I love most about this book is that all the contributors (as well as the author) are friends and that makes it so much fun!

The books will be on sale at www.shopmartingale.com on February 10th before they are available in stores. The purchase from Martingale includes a free digital copy so you can take the book with you on retreat on your tablet, laptop or phone.  Krista’s book will debut at QuiltCon and she has two signing scheduled in the vendor hall.  More details will follow on her blog.

And of course you can preorder on Amazon. My quilt guild has ordered a couple of copies for our upcoming retreat.  They will be the perfect giveaways!  More to come in April.  I can’t wait to share my second project with you then and for you to see all the other projects as well.

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What’s Your REMIX?

What's Your remix-06

Do you need a little break from what you are working on? If so, do what I just did and play on Pinterest for 20 minutes picking out your favorite Cotton + Steel prints to make your own Remix. All the directions are here. There are many chances to win yard cuts of your Remix from the Fat Quarter Shop.

remix

Here’s mine. Have fun! (The deadline is January 30th!)

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Quilts for Sale

Quilts For Sale

The truth of the matter is that I am running out of room to store quilts. I am trying to contain all my quilts in three large bins and they are overflowing and far to heavy!  It’s time to move some quilts out. I have given some away but thought that I would list a few in my Etsy shop. These quilts are new, never been used, only stored in a pet free home.  They are priced to sell so I hope you will take a peek!

Double Ended Seam Rippers

Double Ended Seam Rippers

These new double ended seam rippers, that my husband just finished making, allowed me to have a little extra “photo taking fun” since they have a sharp stiletto on one end!  I stood them in foam to make a seam ripper flower.  It’s the little joys!

Double Ended Seam Ripper

The seam rippers have two ends.  Here, both are exposed but of course you would never use it like that. It wouldn’t be safe!  You can simply pull the hardware out of the handle, turn it around and reinsert it to cap it.  If you notice, the center of the “flower” above is capped.

Double Ended Seam Ripper

I have been asked how you use a stiletto.  Well, it can be used to save your fingers as you feed fabric under the presser foot or while you press open little seams. It can also puncture fabric so you can use it to open an eyelet, make a slit to insert a magnetic clasp, or to begin a button hole opening.  I am sure you will come up with plenty of uses for it.

I am listing these seam rippers in my Etsy shop now (which means that they are only available to US customers due to my Paypal settings thanks to the VAT nightmare).  Please be understanding.  We are all coping as best we can with the new constraints.

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Craft a Creative Business Book Review AND a Survey!

Craft a Creative Business

I was sent a copy of Fiona Pullen’s new book, Craft a Creative Business, to review.  Fiona is the founder of The Sewing Directory a popular site in the UK for finding local and online sewing suppliers, sewing courses and sewing groups.  As someone running a creative business, I thought it would be interesting to read about where I have made good choices and where I could stand to make improvements.

Fiona’s book is written in easy to digest bits, with lots of little “post it notes” and “memos” on its pages.  It makes it easy to pick it up and put it down which is how most of us need to use books due to time constraints.  The book is written for someone who is just starting a business and begins, in fact, with a chapter called “Where do I Start?” but the information found there can apply to those of use who have already started our businesses.  For instance, she talks about finding your “USP” or unique selling point.  One way she suggests doing that is to survey your potential customers.  I would have to say that my USP is paper pieced patterns.  I have never surveyed my readers to find out what kind of patterns they would like to buy though.  I always wonder to myself whether a design will have appeal but I should stop and ask every now and then.  I’m doing that now!  Would you take a moment to complete my survey?  Just click this link and it will bring you to a Google Doc Survey.

Paper Pieced Patterns Survey

The book moves on to cover every aspect of a business from Legal Matters, Presentation, Social Media, Selling online, and Selling Offline.

I was reassured that I was adequately keeping my books, had a website and shop in good working order, etc. But I also identified some shortcomings.  For one, I had installed Google Analytics  on my blog a couple of years ago but haven’t been using the reports and information it generates.  Fiona explains how I can do that in this book.  She also talks a bit about copyright and mentioned the need for a watermark on your photos (check!) and a copyright statement on your blog. I had neglected the second but have added it now (see sidebar).  At one point when talking about your website she suggested adding an “About Me” page with some photographs of your working space and sharing a bit about yourself with your readers.  When I recently added my new Pattern Shop to the blog, a header was added at the same time creating an About Me page.  Last week, I took the time to add some images of my sewing room and gardens and write a bit on that page.

I think that reading this whole book cover to cover might feel very intimidating to someone just starting out.  And that is not surprising, because it IS intimidating and there is a lot to think about.  It’s good to realize that you can work on some of these things over time.  They don’t all need to happen right away.

I’m looking forward to identifying more ways to improve my creative business using this book.  If you are interested in buying a copy, the book is available at Amazon and you could inquire at your local quilt shop as well.

I can’t wait for my survey results!  It will be fun to read them.

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Easter Island Moai Paper Pieced Pattern

Easter Island Cover squareb

Early this week,  I received an  interesting commission to create a Moai paper pieced block with the option of adding a bird sitting on top of the statue’s head.  I don’t accept commissions like this all that often.  I nearly had to turn this one down because my first attempts at creating a Moai were not successful. Then it clicked and I am happy with the results.

I was so surprised when my eleven year old son saw what I was working on and said “Oh, awesome, that’s a Moai from Easter Island!” followed closely by “Do you get to keep this?” which is code for “Is there any chance I could have it if you don’t have to send it off somewhere?”  Apparently he had read all about these monolithic statues in his National Geographic for Kids.  Pretty cool!

Easter Island Moai Paper Pieced Pattern by Amy Friend

The pattern includes the Moai head alone as a finished block in three different sizes: 6″ x 10″, 9″ x 15″ and 12″ x 20.  I think he would look so perfect in Moda grunge.  It has the uneven texture that would give more dimension to the block and make it really look like stone. I was determined to make my prototype from fabrics I had on hand though.

Easter Island Bird Paper Pieced Pattern by Amy Friend

The adorable little bird is really too tricky to make in sizes that would correspond to the smaller two Moai heads so it comes in just one size, 12″ x 5″ to correspond to the largest Moai block.  You could actually make this little bird and put it on top of just about anything…a branch, a telephone line, a roof top.  It has lots of possibilities on it’s own.

Easter Island Moai Paper Pieced Pattern with Bird by Amy Friend

When the larger Moai block and the bird are joined together, you get this, a monolithic statue with a little whimsy.

The pattern is available in my Pattern Shop (worldwide sales) and in my Etsy and Craftsy shops (US customers only).  See the shop links in my side bar.

 

Necklace Seam Rippers Available

Hand turned seam ripper necklaces

My husband has completed another batch of his hand turned necklace seam rippers!  These seam rippers are beautifully hand crafted.  He turns each acrylic blank on his old Craftsman lathe into a variety of unique profiles that he has designed.  Then he sands and polishes them until they shine.  The seam rippers are attached to 36″ chrome chains that you can wear like a necklace if you have the tendency to misplace your seam ripper.  They are particularly great for retreats and workshops.  You can also hang it from the  chain for storage.  The seam ripper is held to the chain with a magnet and is easily detached for use.  The video below shows how the necklace seam ripper works.  Disclaimer:  I am not a hand model, can’t stand hearing my own voice, and the noises in the background are the strong winds causing our barn to creak!

If you are interested in purchasing one of these necklace seam rippers, I have listed them in my Etsy shop. If you have been keeping up with the VAT changes and my response to them, you know that I have had to block outside of the US sales from my Etsy shop. I am not sure how to sell the seam rippers outside of the US at the moment and apologize for that. It’s something I am working on a solution to but for now, sale are US only.

Hand turned necklace seam ripper

Right now we only have necklace versions available. In a few weeks, I will list one hand held seam ripper and a small group of new seam rippers that are double ended (seam ripper on one end and stiletto on the other).  All sales are first come/first serve.  Right now we are not taking custom orders because my husband can only make seam rippers from time to time and the custom order list was becoming stressful for both of us.  Thanks for understanding!

Iron On Vinyl Apron Tutorial

Iron-On Apron Tutorial by Amy Friend

I’m sharing a free tutorial for this Iron-On Vinyl Apron for your favorite toddler to kindergarten aged cooking assistant.  The apron was inspired by my daughter who wished that Santa would bring her cooking things that could be used with real food.  She now has her own spatula, scrub brush, tiny baking pans, rolling pin, etc. and is thrilled.  She wears this apron when she helps cook.  Because I coated the fabric (Peapods by Dear Stella) with Thermoweb Iron-On Vinyl, the apron is easy to clean with a wipe from a damp cloth.

Iron-On Vinyl Apron for Kids by Amy Friend

Here is my daughter modeling the apron.  I hope your little assistant likes it too!  You can find the full tutorial here.

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Lily’s Quilt on Exhibit

littlehousebutton

Lily's Quilt On Exhibit

Lily’s quilt was just hung up at the town library this morning where it will be on display for the next two months. She is very proud!  Thank you for everyone who has sent me email messages or left comments here or on IG letting me know how much you have enjoyed sharing in our sew along progress.  We have appreciated each and every comment.

 

Pattern Shop Download Fixed

pattern collage

Happy New Year everyone!  The download problem in my new pattern shop has been resolved.  Feel free to purchase patterns!  See the Pattern Shop link in the new header or the button that reads “Pattern Shop” on the sidebar with the picture of the globe in the corner.  You will be emailed a link which will, in fact, open and show you the pattern now.  All is well.

To clarify my last post about the VAT. I am sorry that so many people are upset. I think that the situation is upsetting to shop owners and customers alike.  Both Etsy and Craftsy have no tools currently available to help the shop owner manage the VAT. They both use Paypal but Paypal will not allow you to only block sales from the EU, it is outside of the US or not at all.  This does eliminate so many from other countries–which doesn’t make the shop owner or the customer happy.  This is why so much time and energy has been put into my new shop. It is open to all international customers, as well as those in the US.  You will get the same patterns at the same cost.  You can still pay using Paypal because you will  be using the Paddle Paypal account, not mine.  So everyone has a workable option here and I am open for business!