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?

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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!

My VAT Solution

VAT solution

I am sure that most of you have heard all about the changes to VAT as of January 1, 2015 as there has been lots of chatter about it online in the past month.  In a nutshell, the EU legislation is changing and will affect all digital sellers worldwide.  The VAT is no longer paid in the seller’s country but is now payable in the buyer’s country too.  There are very low thresholds in many of the EU countries, sometimes even zero.  If I were to continue to sell my digital patterns on Etsy and Craftsy, where there is currently no way to handle the VAT, I would be responsible to submit quarterly VAT returns to every country I sold to and I just don’t have the ability to do that as a one person small business.

I know many sellers are closing their pattern shops entirely or limiting sales only to US customers. I contemplated that myself but I would say that half of my customers live outside of the US.  Not only do I not want to lose those sales, I don’t want to exclude them from the ability to purchase my patterns.

I did adjust my Paypal settings to block all outside of the US sales.  Therefore, only customers from the US will be able to purchase my patterns from Etsy and Craftsy.  But for those of you in the US who are used to shopping that way, I want to allow you to continue to do so.  In fact, I earn the most money per pattern from Craftsy sales so I appreciate it when my customers shop for my patterns there.

Thanks to help of my wonderful friend Sally, I was able to set up a new shop on my blog.  You can access it from the “Pattern Shop” button in the side bar of my blog and from the new header at the top of my blog.  All my digital patterns are available for sale right here on my blog using a Paddle checkout.  Paddle is the ‘merchant of record’ and that makes them responsible for collecting/storing customer data, applying the correct VAT rates to purchases and filing the returns too.  It’s a bit less economical to use Paddle due to the higher listing fee and percentage of sale that they charge but it is so worth it not to have to manage the VAT myself.

I could not have done this without Sally’s help and would recommend her services if anyone is looking to set up something similar and needs to hire help.  You can find her contact information here.

The new system is not without kinks. It has all been done very rapidly over the last few days.  As of right now the check out process is working smoothly. The customer receives an email with a link to download the pattern and can save the link but it won’t open. I know, not very helpful right? But if anyone places an order before that problem is solved (Sally is working on it), I will promptly send you an email with the pattern attached. It should be resolved soon along with any other problems in the process that we haven’t identified yet.  I will make another blog announcement once the download problem is resolved.  In the meantime, don’t hesitate to make a purchase.  Know that I will send you and email with the file asap.

Thank you to all those who support my pattern sales! If you have purchased my patterns in the past, I would love it if you would visit my new Pattern Shop and leave a review for one or more of your favorite patterns. If you click on a pattern, you will see a “Review” button next to the “Description” button. It should be easy to choose from 1-5 stars and leave a brief comment. I would appreciate it!

Happy New Year!

Sewing Table Gift

sewing table

My husband made me this beautiful sewing table for Christmas. It wasn’t a surprise because I knew he was working on it and we had discussed the design. However, the fact that it was done by Christmas was a huge surprise to me! I can’t believe he finished it in time! My sewing room is small, which explains the wacky perspective here.

When I was at Quilt Market this spring, I bought at second Janome. It’s a MemoryCraft 8200QC. I had intended for it to take the place of my MemoryCraft 6600 which was going to become my back up machine. I was getting very uncomfortable not having a back up machine with sewing deadlines. I talked to my husband over the phone about adapting my other table for this machine and he thought it could be done until I got the machine and we took a good look at it and the construction of my last table. We decided to build a second table for the new machine and leave the old machine in position. This means that I have zero floor space in my sewing room now but that I have a piecing machine and a quilting machine both set up at once!

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He saved joists that were removed from our home during a bathroom renovation a couple of years ago.  He used those to create the legs for this table so they have a great rustic look complete with saw marks and old nail holes.  He is guessing that the joists dated to the early 1900s. He used original cut nails that he had saved from lathe that was removed from part of our house.  He thinks that those are as old as the house, built about 1835.  This reuse is partly due to our Yankee frugality but also we love the aesthetic.

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The table top is a double layer with the top cut out around the machine.  My husband wanted to repurpose boards for the table tops too but didn’t have quite enough saved and I refused to allow him to start disassembling the hayloft in the barn!  (This was an actual discussion!)  He used pine and stained it to match the legs which are an aged fir.

2014-12-27 IMGP2418bI tried out my machine for the first time yesterday and am loving it so far!  It is quilting well and the thread cutter is so smooth and quiet!  From this machine, I can watch the kids as they craft at the dining room table too which is a bonus.  When I want to hide, I will move to the other machine!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

 

 

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas friends! I hope you all enjoy this holiday season with your loved ones.

Snapshots Quilt Along to Benefit St. Jude

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I wanted to call your attention to the Snapshots Quilt Along sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics.  You can read all about it here. Simply put, they are making a block pattern available on the 15th of each month and requesting a $5 donation to St. Jude Research Hospital in return. The Fat Quarter Shop and Moda will match up to $10,000 in donations and all proceeds go to St. Jude. It’s a really nice program…and a really cute quilt.

Quilt kits and backings are available now for preorder. They will ship in February.

Donations can be made here.

Little House on the Prairie Sew Along Complete!

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Little House on the Prairie Quilt

I’m happy to share my 9 year old daughter’s completed quilt!  If you have been sewing along with us, you know that Lily and I have been reading the Little House series.  As we read, I design blocks to go with the story and she sews them.  She selected her own fabrics.  I cut.  She sewed.  She learned a bit about traditional piecing, hand stitching, applique, templates and even paper piecing so it was a great learning experience.  She put a lot of time and effort into the quilt.  I did the final steps myself; I sewed the top together, basted, quilted and bound.  We were under a little time pressure because her quilt is going to hang at the public library next month. Also, I think that all of that would have been frustrating for Lily. This way, we ended on a high note and she is eager to do more sewing.

Lily chose her sashing and cornerstone fabrics as well as the layout.  All the blocks are in the order in which they were sewn except we switched the pumpkin and the barn, both blocks from Farmer Boy, because the pumpkin and blackbird would have been in the same row with the same background fabric.

If you choose to sash and use cornerstones like Lily, cut 30 cornerstones 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ square. Cut 49 sashing strips measuring 2 1/2″ x 14 1/2″. You will need approximately  1/4 yard for cornerstones and a yard and a quarter for sashing.

If you are just learning about our sew along and would like to make a Little House quilt, scroll down my blog and look on the sidebar for a search button (down a ways) and type “little house on the prairie” and all the block patterns and blog posts will come up.  Tag your pictures on Instagram with @duringquiettime and #littlehousealong. I can’t wait to see them!

 

Baguette Quilt

Baguette, American Quilter Jan 2015

I am pleased to finally share a quilt I made over the summer.  It feels like forever ago!  I call it Baguette and it can be found in the January 2015 issue of American Quilter Magazine.

Baguette by Amy Friend

My quilt was inspired by gem stones and their cuts, specifically the way color can reflect off of a clear diamond and create bursts of color. I chose pastel hues that I tend to notice in my engagement ring.  I also thought it would be a great opportunity to use some of the metallics that are a current trend in contemporary fabric designs. I used a bit of Brambleberry Ridge by Violet Craft for Michael Miller and Shimmer by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman among others.

Baguette by Amy Friend

This quilt was the second one I made using Warm and Plush, and extra thick batting. I quilted in the ditch along all the strings that made up the gem stones.  Then I outlined the secondary star like design that I created with the quilting (based on the seams from the foundation piecing).  And then I free motion quilted tiny pebbles.  I think I was a bit off my rocker when I planned that because it took forever, however, I love the way it worked and am pretty proud of the effect that I achieved with the quilting here.  The quilting was difficult with the added weight of the Warm and Plush but it was also what gave it the great “pop”.

Baguette by Amy Friend

I am going to show an excess of pictures here because I took a lot for the magazine and might as well share them!

Baguette by Amy Friend

This is the photo that they chose of the quilt hanging in a tree. I like this one too but I am glad that I didn’t have to pick.

Baguette by Amy Friend

I love how these detail shots show the variety of fabrics used in pale pinks, yellows, greys, lavender and blue.  The background fabric is a Moda Grunge in Vanilla.

Baguette by Amy Friend

See the depth that was achieved with the quilting and the extra plush batting? It was worth the effort though I seriously questioned it at the time, especially about half way through!

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Little House on the Prairie Sew Along; Musical Notes

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Lily with musical notes
Can you remember way back to the beginning of the sew along?  I warned you that we were designing the blocks as we read the Little House series and that the goal was 2-3 blocks per book but that we reserved the right to go back at the end and add a block from an earlier book.  Well, we did just that!  The last book of the series ends on a very sad note (no pun intended). Laura and Almanzo lose their infant son and shortly after, their house burns to the ground.  We didn’t want to design a block around either of those subjects.  In The First Four Years, they acquire a flock of sheep but we already have a sheep block. They lose wheat crops but we already have a wheat block.  Indians visited…but we already have the Indian feather block.  As you can see, many of the blocks could work for many of the books because the subjects come up over and over again. I suggested that we try to think of another subject like that and we came up with music.  Laura grew up to the sounds of her Pa’s fiddle.  Later, she spends her teaching money on an organ for Mary.  And finally, she and Almanzo go to singing lessons while they are courting.

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I couldn’t design the block and be happy with it without paper piecing but Lily was eager to try since she always sees me paper piecing.  We made our block using that method.  But you can try templates if you are opposed to paper piecing or think it would be too frustrating for the child you are sewing with.  Or, you could applique.

The paper piecing foundation can be downloaded here.

The templates can be downloaded here.

Note that some pieces will need to be taped together since they are so large. The finished blocks are 14 1/2″ for this sew along.

I hope you have enjoyed this sew along!  Lily and I are sad to see it end but eager to put her quilt together in time for the library show next month. We will be sure to share it when it is done.

 

 

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

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Little House on the Prairie Sew Along

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

blocks

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

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

 

 

Haberdashery Quilt

Haberdashery Quilt by Amy Friend

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

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

Haberdashery Quilt by Amy Friend

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

Haberdashery Quilt by Amy Friend

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

The finished quilt measures 49″ x 56″.

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Interlock in Modern Patchwork

Interlock by Amy Friend

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

Interlock by Amy Friend

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

Interlock by Amy Friend

 

You can find the pattern in Modern Patchwork Winter 2015 issue.  I like how they styled this photo of my quilt!

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Camper Paper Pieced Pattern

Camper by Amy Friend

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

Camper by Amy Friend

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

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Scraps, Inc. and Twinkle

Twinkle by Amy Friend

 

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

Twinkle by Amy Friend

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

Twinkle by Amy Friend

I threw in some fussy cuts here and there including little bicycles and foxes.  And I used some of my favorite text prints too.  The resulting pattern has small dark charcoal pinwheels where the wedges meet at one end and light grey pinwheels at the other.  I quilted with diagonal lines set 1/2″ apart.
Scraps Inc. Cover

 

Lucky Spool is offering this book at 30% off right now using the code “SCRAPS30.” Enter that code where it says “Coupon Code” at the time of check out.  The code will expire on 12/1/2014 and can only be used on this title.  The discount is taken off the original price of $26.95.

photo courtesy ©Lucky Spool Media, LLC.

photo courtesy ©Lucky Spool Media, LLC.

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

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

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Just For You Blog Hop

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

Mini Dresden Coin Purse by Amy Friend

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

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

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

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Free Motion Quilting For Beginners-Book Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sherri Lynn Wood to Visit New England

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

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

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

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

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

318 Patchwork Patterns Blog Hop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thanks for visiting today!

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