Tell Me A Story Holiday Sewalong!


You are invited to join my Tell Me A Story holiday sewalong! First off, credit where credit is due, this sewalong was inspired by my fellow guild member’s blocks.  Colleen made a Christmas themed Tell Me A Story block and the wheels started turning!

Here’s the idea.  Use the Tell Me A Story quilt block pattern found in my book, Intentional Piecing.  This time, we are going to tell holiday stories with our fabric selections!  Mine are very Christmas themed but feel free to simply go with a winter theme if you do not celebrate Christmas.

Tell Me A Story holiday block by Amy Friend

Here’s an example.  This little girl is happily skating around the pond, putting on an amazing performance, for her audience of snowmen that she built earlier that afternoon.  The stories can be simple or you can go crazy and name your characters, etc.  It’s completely up to you!

Because most of us are so busy this time of year, I thought pillows might be an obtainable goal.

Tell Me A Story Holiday Pillow by Amy Friend

For one 18″ finished pillow cover:


Intentional Piecing by Amy Friend

assorted holiday scraps for fussy cuts and borders

1/8 yard fabric for inner corners

1/2 yard fabric for outer corners

18 1/2″ square fusible fleece

5/8 yard fabric for pillow backing

18″ pillow form

optional 16″ invisible zipper

Project Directions:

Make 9 Tell Me A Story blocks found on page 27.

Assemble in a 3 x 3 grid.

Fuse pillow front to fleece and quilt.

Finish pillow following instructions on pages 56 and 57.

Feel free to make more than one pillow…they are addictive! I made these two and have one more in the works!  I will be sharing my blocks on Instagram and here on the blog, as well.  I hope you will join in!

Tell Me A Story Holiday Pillow by Amy Friend

To enter, simply share the Tell Me A Story Holiday announcement that I am sharing on IG today.  No purchase necessary.  For additionally entries, share each block and tell your story!  Always use the hashtag #tellmeastoryholiday because it is from that hashtag that I will draw 4 lucky winner’s names on December 31st.


Thanks to our sponsors, the winners will win one of the following prizes:

A fat quarter bundle of Snow Day by Maude Asbury from the Fat Quarter Shop.
A fat quarter bundle of awesome striped fabric from Sew Me A Song which just happens to give you a really great start should you want to sew my Crazy Eights quilt (also found in the book).
An assorted color bundle of 16″ invisible zippers from Zipit, perfect for finishing your pillows (because remember, they don’t have to be done to win!).
A box of Pat Sloan’s Perfect Colors thread from Aurifil–12 spools in 50 weight–perfect for piecing or quilting!

I hope you are excited to play along. These blocks are paper pieced but suitable for the beginner.  I walk you step by step through making them in the book, including fabric placement, with color photos.  Enter as many times as you wish with as many blocks and/or finished pictures as you wish. Each tagged picture is an entry.  Most importantly, have so much fun digging through your stash and telling stories!


Fly Zip Bags

"Fly" Zip Bags by Amy Friend

I just finished making gifts for my children’s teachers.  This year we have three preschool teachers, one second grade teacher, and four fifth grade teachers so I set up an assembly line and got busy making eight zip bags.

"Fly" Zip Bag by Amy Friend

I cut the outer bags using various large linen scraps and linen look prints.  The insides are all lined with a solid that coordinates with the applique.  To create the bag fronts, I applied HeatnBond Lite to the wrong side of some small scale prints that I used for the bird appliques. Then I diecut the birds using a lovely bird shape called the Songbird. I fused the applique shape to a bag front measuring 7 1/2″ x 10 1/2″. I backed the bag front and back with fusible fleece.

"Fly" fmq by Amy Friend

After the fusible fleece was applied, I free motion quilted around the outer edge of the appliqued shape and free motion quilted the word “fly.” I also decided to add a little metallic bead for the eye.

Zippers by Amy Friend

I chose coordinating zippers to pick up the colors in the applique. I just love a good zipper picture! The zippers are all from Zipit.

Fly Zip Bags by Amy Friend

I was pretty pleased that I was able to use only stashed materials for these gifts. I hope that the teachers will like them. My kids assure me that they will! That’s half the battle; they are pleased with the gifts they will be offering.


Knitting Project Bag Tutorial

Knitting Project Bag by Amy Friend

Not too long ago, I agreed to a “Pay it Forward” deal where you accept a surprise handmade gift from someone  and in turn, you make handmade gifts for 5 people over the course of the year.  They in turn make gifts for 5 more people and so on.  My Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild friend, Laura, was the first to jump at the chance to join in so I decided to make her gift first!  Plus, I knew what I wanted to make so that made it easy.  Laura likes to knit as much as she likes to sew.  I have an adorable alphabet panel, originally from Sew Me A Song (I think they might be sold out?).  I fussy cut it for the center of the bag along with a couple of phrases from a Japanese text print.  I constructed the front of the bag with a “quilt as you go” method.  The full tutorial can be found on the Therm O Web blog today.

Knitting Project Bag detail


This makes me chuckle.  I picture Laura busily knitting and saying “Mother is busy” to her toddler (not really of course…that’s what makes me laugh).  It was fun to make.  I always welcome a chance to fussy cut.



Catnap Patchwork Pillow

I’ve got to say, it’s nice when you can sew something for your “tween” son and feel like supermom. It doesn’t happen all that often. My son will be turning 11 next month (yikes!) and loves cats. When I told him that Lizzy House had a line of cat fabric coming out he begged me for a pillow. Now, some of the fabrics in the Catnap line are a little more on the feminine side so I had some strict rules. I could only use the fabrics you see in the pillow above! And I needed to fussy cut the cat floating from balloons and make it the centerpiece of the pillow.  I received a FQ bundle of this colorway courtesy of Andover Fabrics last week and spent a few days mulling over the design.

I decided to work on something similar to an X and+ block.  So I drafted a design with a plus in the center so that I could fussy cut the cute cat floating from the balloon. I used the dimensions needed to fussy cut him nicely to figure out the rest of my patchwork piecing. I bordered my plus with little rows of mice, again based on their dimensions because I wanted to fit in their whole height.  They are too cute!  I made sure that they all faced right side up too because my son would notice that for sure.  I used the cat faces to finish out the plus. I deviated from the X and + block on the corners and made quarter square triangles using two more prints from the collection.

Catnap Pillow quilting detail

I decided to quilt the top heavily, just for kicks, with lines spaced every 1/2″ in both directions in a diagonal grid.  As it turns out, my son actually noticed that detail and thought that the quilting was “cool.”

ZipperI finished it off with an invisible zipper from Zipit.

I am happy to report that the pillow was very well received. He loves it! Phew! Now I can use my scraps to make a fussy cut mosaic block for my growing collection (my ulterior motive for making his pillow so promptly!). I also can’t wait to sew with some of the other colors in this collection, like the coral, without any restrictions from my son!

Christmas Sewing

Ruched Happy Bags


I return to this pattern every year. It’s always perfect for someone on my Christmas list.  It’s a quick sew and I love choosing the fabrics and coordinating zippers!  I made these this morning while my daughter was in preschool so you still have time! I used my Ruched Happy Bag pattern that can be found in my Etsy shop and Craftsy shops.

The bag in the back has a DS Quilts print for the focal band from JoAnn Fabrics and the rest of the bag exterior is a Jennifer Paganelli print purchased at Marden’s in Maine (I love that place!).  The bag on the right also uses a Jennifer Paganelli print, paired with Tula Pink’s Raccoon in Blueberry print from Sew Fresh Fabrics. I like how the raccoon is peeking through the gathers but then you get to see all of him on the back. This is pretty much the only kind of raccoon I like too because the real ones have started terrorizing our barn, fighting with our cats and generally causing all sorts of problems! I lined both bags with solids I have collected in the last couple of months from Marmalade Fabric’s Around the Color Wheel Monthly Bundle.


The zips are from Zipit. I love, love, choosing fun colored zippers for these bags and then ribbon for pulls.

I think it is about time to move on to baking a bit more seriously now. These were the last gifts left to sew. Phew!


Ballerina Argyle Pillow Tutorial

Ballerina Argyle Pillow Cover

I have to say that these are just the sweetest fabrics ever.  This line is called Arabesque from Anna Griffin and you can purchase it right here. My four year old asked me if I would make her a pillow for Christmas. Be still my heart! Of course! Immediately I settled on these fabrics and have put together a brief tutorial for you today in case you’d like to make one too.

For this project I used fat quarters of Arabesque On Pointe White, Arabesque On Pointe Pink, Arabesque Jete Grey, Arabesque Plie Grey, Arabesque Pirouette White and a quarter yard of Arabesque Jete Pink. I also used Thermoweb HeatnBond Fusible Fleece and an invisible zipper from Zipit.

Ballerina Argyle Pillow step 1

In order to make the 3 units that are composed of 4 diamonds each, I cut diamonds using my Sizzix 3 1/2″ Diamond die. I used the die cutter to cut the dies from the floral prints. Then I used it to create a pattern piece so that I could accurately fussy cut the ballet slipper prints. I just held the template over the fussy cut and used my rotary cutter. To assemble the diamonds, first sew the top and bottom diamonds from the left and right sides using a 1/4″ seam as seen above.

Ballerina Argyle Pillow step 2Press seams open.

Ballerina Argyle Pillow step 3

With right sides together, stitch the center seam, matching the seams in the middle.  Again, press the seams open.  Create three matching units.

Ballerina Argyle Pillow step 4

I used the upper half of the assembled diamond unit as my pattern piece to cut 2 triangles from each of the florals.

Ballerina Argyle Pillow step 5

Next, cut three 1″ strips from the pink floral and sew between the units as shown in this image.

Ballerina Argyle Pillow step 6

Then using more 1″ strips, join these sections together.

Ballerina Argyle Pillow step 7

Square up to 16 1/2″ square.

Ballerina Argyle Pillow step 8

Add a little chunk of the pink floral to each corner and square up once again to complete your pillow top. Fuse to the Thermoweb HeatnBond Fusible Fleece and quilt as desired. I quilted with straight lines using a variegated grey Aurifil thread.

Ballerina Argyle Pillow Back

Fussy cut a 16 1/2″ square for the back using the Pirouette in White, centering the little dancers (aren’t they sweet?).

Finish off your pillow with an invisible zipper closure and stuff with a 16″ pillow form.

Ballerina Argyle Pillow


And there you go! I hope my little girl loves it!



Wacky Web Improv Pillow Tutorial

Wacky Web Improv Pillow

I hope you will join me on the Sizzix blog today where I am sharing a tutorial for this Wacky Web Improv Pillow.  I created this pillow inspired by Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s recent talk at our Seacoast Modern Quilt Guild meeting.  I pieced together my scraps in an improv manner to create “made fabric” as Victoria calls it. I then used my made fabric to cut Wacky Web shapes with the Sizzix Wacky Web die.  I decided to go for a fall feel and used my Anna Maria Horner scraps and linen.


Tim Holtz Tattered Floral Challenge

Have you heard about the Tim Holtz Tattered Floral Challenge?  If not, you can read all about it here.  I am very fond of this Sizzix die, in fact, it was included in my first order of Sizzix dies ever.  For the challenge, I wanted to use the die differently than I have in the past.  I have made countless 3D tattered floral flowers from fabric and felt for my daughter’s headbands.

This time, I decided to go flat.  I cut my flowers from National Non Wovens felts and backed them with Heatnbond fusible.  I spent a few evenings on the couch embellishing the flowers with simple stitches using coordinating embroidery floss.
I used linen for the backing fabric because I liked the natural feel along with the wool felt.
I decided to turn my finished piece into a zippered bag.  I used a peppy orange zipper from Zipit to pick up on the orange french knots in the mustard flowers.
I finally cut into my Melody Miller Ruby Star Spring for the backing because the colors were too perfect with the felt.

The end result was a pretty big zippered bag. I think that’s when you call it a project bag right?  That works!

Floressence Bags

Tis the season for gift making! I just finished up a batch of Ruched Happy Bags.  I turn to this pattern each year for gifts.
These bags will be gifts for my children’s teachers.  I used Floressence by the Art Gallery Fabrics in house designers for all five bags.  I particularly like that yellow and grey floral print on the bag above. I think that’s my favorite.
I always love to take a shot of the zipper end of bags stacked up.  There is something so appealing about zippers!  These are from Zipit.  I used some pink and white polka dot ribbon for pulls.
The linings are all Floressence prints too.  You can sneak a peek in this picture.
I hope that the teachers like them!  On to the next gift on the list!  

Poinsettia Ring Pillow Cover

As a part of the Holiday USA/UK Sizzix Blog Hop, I made this Poinsettia Ring 16″ Pillow Cover.  
To make this pillow, I used the Sizzix 4″ finished Tumbler Die.  I cut 24 tumbler shapes using all the soft green charms from a charm pack of Aneela Hoey’s Cherry Christmas, Odds and Ends Happy Thoughts in Leaf, Olive Kona, Chartreuse Heath, and Juniper Grunge
I sewed each row together from left to right.  
I ironed the seams to the right in the top row, to the left in the second row, and so forth so that the seams nested together nicely when I sewed the rows together.
I then applied fusible fleece to the wrong side of the pillow front and quilted with straight lines.  I squared up the pillow to measure 16 1/2″ on all sides.
I made a group of seven poinsettias out of wool felt from National Nonwovens using the Sizzix Tattered Poinsettia die by Tim Holtz.  I cut the largest flower on the die from green felt for the leaves and then cut all the flower shapes on the die from the red felt to form the flower.  The flower centers are composed of clusters of french knots made using Aurifil‘s wool thread.  I arranged the poinsettias in a wreath shape and tacked them in place with hand stitches just through the green felt leaves.
I finished off the pillow with an invisible zipper from Zipit.  
If you are looking for more holiday pillow ideas, I have a tutorial for another one that will appear on the Sizzix blog on December 7th.

Here’s the line up for the day, make sure you check them all out to get some truly festive inspiration…

Tammy Tutterow
Paula Pascual
Elina Strömberg
Anna-Karin Evaldsson
Loredana Bucaria
Gretchen Schmidt
Hilary Kanwischer
Jan Hobbins
Jeanne Streiff
Tammy Roberts
Tiffany Johnson