Fussy Cut Melon Ice

I just love fussy cutting. Recently, while preparing to teach my Melon Ice pattern for a workshop, I came up with a new idea. I was actually trying to fall asleep when I started to wonder what would happen if I fussy cut the diamond centers of the block. First thing the following morning, I started combing through my stash for something that would work. I had a FQ bundle of Maureen Cracknell’s Garden Dreamer fabric and the Diamond Fragments print seemed just the thing! I immediately made a few blocks and quickly ran out of fabric. Fussy cutting the centers isn’t terribly economical, but, as I say in my Intentional Piecing book, “If it yields the results you are looking for, then it is an investment in your design,” not a waste. I ordered more fabric and carried on! I chose a light blue and darker blue print from the collection to surround the fussy cuts. I chose prints that were subtle and read as solids so that they didn’t look too busy and let the fussy cutting really show off. Rather than creating just circle shapes with the blocks as I did in my original pattern and first runner, or just X shapes as I did in my second runner, I opted for a combination of the two. See my post here for prior variations.

I quilted with straight lines in toward the center and back out again in four V shapes. I used a really pretty soft shade of thread, Aurifil 2315. I definitely got sidetracked by this project but I am glad because I enjoyed it and I like the way it turned out.  It was time well spent!

Stars Hollow Quilt

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Knitting Socks Project Bag

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

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

Gilmore Girls Sewalong Part 4!

Mrs. Kim's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

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

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

Lane's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

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

Christopher's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

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

Miss Patty's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

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

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

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Tell Me A Story Holiday Update

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

As promised, I am sharing some of my Tell Me A Story holiday blocks with you!  I hope you are busily making your own so that you can enter to win one of four really great prizes.  You can read all the details about the sewalong in my earlier post.

Here’s my story for this block.  This child is sliding down a New England hill but his speed is increasing and he can’t stop!  And smack, he hits an evergreen tree.  This is an autobiographical story based on my second grade self, the day before school pictures.

 

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

Frosty is trying to remain cheerful as he shovels but those snowflakes keep coming!  Always…more…snow…  If you live in a snowy area like I do, you know this feeling!

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

They look so sweet singing their Christmas carols but Jane, on the left, is trying to outshine her younger sister Betty by singing just a little bit louder.  Ahh…sibling rivalry.

Tell Me A Story Holiday by Amy Friend

Please share your blocks and stories on IG using the hashtags #tellmeastoryholiday and #intentionalpiecingbook.  See you there!

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Tell Me A Story Holiday Sewalong!

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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:

Supplies:

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.

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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!

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Gilmore Girls Sewalong Continues

Lorelai's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

I am continuing to make coffee cup blocks with intentional fabric choices to represent the characters in the Gilmore Girls television series. Now, my crazy self is trying to finish this before the 4 new episodes premiere next month. I was only going to make blocks for Lorelai, Rory and Luke but have become obsessed and am making them for many, many characters! I invite you to join me!  All you need is a copy of my Rise and Shine Coffee pattern!  See Etsy, Craftsy or Pattern Shop links in side bar.

This is Lorelai’s block.  She runs the Dragonfly Inn.  She loves junk food and movies (popcorn) and can smell the first snowfall of the year and insists on waking Rory to celebrate it.

Jackson's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

Jackson is up next! He is Sookie’s husband and a gardener who supplies the inn with produce. Sookie and Jackson always argue about the quality of produce (garden print in middle, seed print on top, garden text print for lid). The basket print was used because Jackson proposed to Sookie at the Bid a Basket Festival.

Babette's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

Lorelai and Rory’s quirky neighbor is Babette.  She is a crazy cat lady, over decorates for Halloween, and decorated her bedroom like a tropical jungle.

Yes, it’s true, I am having way too much fun with these. I have made all of these blocks from my stash and now will take a break for a couple of days while you catch up and while my fabric order ships! I had to order some extra prints for some of the other characters as well as some sashing fabric. I will be back early next week with more!

Please share your blocks on Instagram using the hashtag #riseandshinecoffeepattern. I would love to see them!!

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Gilmore Girls Sewalong

Rory's Coffee by Amy Friend

So, I had this crazy idea…I really love the Gilmore Girls television series. I just rewatched them all on Netflix in anticipation of the new episodes coming in November!  If you have watched the show, you know that coffee is a major theme!  I thought I would use my Rise and Shine Coffee pattern and personalize it for each of the characters in the show.

This is Rory’s cup.  Rory wrote for her school newspapers and wanted to be a journalist so I used a newspaper print and keyboard print.  The blue and white band at the top is for Yale, her college.  You can’t see this in the picture but I used a white on white text print for the top of the cup too!

Sookie's Coffee by Amy Friend

This is Sookie’s cup!  Sookie is the cook at the inn where Lorelai is the manager.  She is an obsessive cook and baker!  I used a great Japanese cooking print and a recipe text print.  The row of pluses at the top symbolize those positive pregnancy tests that took Sookie by surprise!

Luke's Coffee by Amy Friend

Luke owns the diner where all the coffee is served.  So, I made his cup first.  The plaid stands for his uniform of choice, flannel, plaid shirts.  And the coffee and pie are staples at his diner.  Finally, the diner is in what used to be Luke’s father’s hardware store so there is a little bit of woodgrain.

This is such a fun project and I invite you to join me if you are so inclined!  I will post the blocks as I make them on IG and Facebook and here in little batches.

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Observing a Dragonfly

Dragonfly by Amy Friend

I was sent some of April Rhode’s newest collection, Observer, and knew immediately that I wanted to use her Indigo Window Sulphur print for dragonfly wings. I think that the fabric evokes the network of veins that make up the wings and the ethereal quality as well. The color suits too. The fabric that I used for the background is a fabulous choice for paper pieced backgrounds because you do not need to worry about directionality and the seam lines just blend.  I had a blast making this.  Now I have the same problem I always have…what do with the block!  Sometimes, I truly believe it is ok to make a block just to make it.  They are mini masterpieces.

This is my own paper pieced block design. I actually designed the block 3 years ago.  It’s available for sale here. Be forewarned, it’s not the easiest block but worth it!

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Cuckoo!

Cuckoo Block by Amy Friend

My friend, Melinda, shared these precious birds with me so that I could make another version of my Cuckoo Clock block. I adore them!  They seem made for this block.  The block is 10″ though and the fussy cut was too large.  How many times do we set aside the perfect fussy cut for just that reason?  I didn’t want to let that stop me so I enlarged the block to 16″ and now they are perfect!

I had fun playing off the primary color scheme of the fussy cut.  Red, blue and yellow are not my normal go to colors, but that’s what made it fun. They are undeniably cheerful colors too.

Detail by Amy Friend

Now I am mulling over what I am going to do with this large block.  It could be a pillow front as it is or with the addition of a narrow border.  Or I could design some German themed paper pieced blocks to coordinate with it.  I’m still considering!

If you would like this pattern, you can find it in my book, Intentional Piecing.

 

Tell Me A Story-2

Tell Me A Story 2 by Amy Friend

I just finished up this sweet baby quilt based on the Tell Me A Story Quilt Pattern from my book, Intentional Piecing.

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If you have been following along on IG at all, you already know that I have been running a contest. For each Tell Me A Story block that you make and post on IG with the hashtags #intentionalpiecingbook and #TellMeAStoryQuilt you are entered to win one of two fussy-cut-able bundles of fabric. You can also repost the image above as an entry.

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The contest ends June 1. You really should check out the hashtags and see all the blocks entered so far and read their stories! I didn’t intend to sew along but, as it turns out, I wanted to play too. It’s so fun creating these blocks that each tell a story through intentional fabric selection.


Tell Me A Story 2 by Amy Friend
I decided to just make a small, baby size version this time and I am donating it to the Quilts for Fort McMurray effort. I made a label for the back that reads “Each block tells a story. Enjoy reading your quilt.” I hope gives comfort to a little baby and his or her parents.

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Stash Happy Tote

Stash Happy Tote with Teacher's Pet block by Amy Friend

I wanted to share another project from my book today because I feel that it is timely with the end of the school year approaching.  I think that this bag would make a great teacher’s gift!  It’s called the Stash Happy Tote because I am hoping that you will be able to make it by simply pulling 3 half yard pieces from your stash for the body of the bag. I don’t tend to buy lots of yardage but like to purchase half yard pieces so for me, it works out well!

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In the book, I offer 10 different paper pieced block patterns that all work for the front pocket of the tote.  You can customize it any way you like to suit the recipient.

Stash Happy Tote with Teacher's Pet Block by Amy Friend

I just made another tote today using the same block, perfect for a teacher or librarian or any book lover. It would serve well as a library bag even.  I plan to make more bags with some of the other blocks down the line and will be sure to share them when I do.

I have received word from a number of my readers that their Amazon orders of Intentional Piecing are arriving within the next couple of days!  That’s very exciting. I can’t wait for you to receive your copies and share your projects with me.  Please use the hashtag #intentionalpiecingbook on Instagram.  If you make this project, you can also use #stashhappytote and #teacherspetquiltblock.

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Tell Me A Story Quilt–Prizes!

Tell Me A Story blocks by Amy Friend

Initially, I hadn’t planned on sewing along and making more Tell Me A Story blocks…but I couldn’t resist!  I have made this group of 5 so far and have lots of fabric waiting in the wings, ready to become part of the story.  For this version, I am using a black crosshatch for the inner triangles in each block and then various low volume fabrics for the outer triangles.  The fussy cuts and borders are paired to tell a story.

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As I explained in my previous blog post, I am inviting everyone to play along and make and share Tell Me A Story blocks on Instagram.  The first entry is simple and no purchase required–just repost my Instragram picture showing the image above to spread the word about the stitched story telling event.  You will find it in my IG stream.  Use the hashtags #intentionalpiecingbook and #TellMeAStoryQuilt.  Every time you make a block and share it, using those hashtags, you are entered again!  The pattern is found in my new book, Intentional Piecing.  The book is currently shipping from my Etsy shop and will be shipped by Amazon and Lucky Spool very soon.

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2 lucky winners will receive this bundle, provided by Sew Me A Song. The fat sixteenths bundle was selected for this project and is full of fussy cutting prints. Sew Me A Song just listed the bundle for sale, as well. If you buy the bundle and then happen to win, your purchase price will be refunded. The drawing will be held on June 1.

I can’t wait to see your blocks and hear your stories!

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Tell Me A Story; A Stitched Storytelling Event

Tell Me A Story Quilt by Amy Friend

I am so happy to share my Tell Me A Story Quilt from my new book, Intentional Piecing.  In the book, I call this quilt a process quilt.  The idea is to enjoy every minute of making it!  I have lots of quirky Japanese prints in my stash and designed this quilt to use fussy cut motifs from prints like that.  The fussy cut centers are framed by borders so that they are actually octagonal, which is kind of fun and unusual.  Each block is meant to tell a story.

Tell Me A Story Quilt by Amy Friend

The stories can be simple or convoluted.  It’s up to you!  If you look at some of the details in this image, you will see what I mean.  There is a hot air balloon framed with birds flying in the sky.  There is a stack of tea bowls framed with lace; I picture a lace tablecloth under the tea set.  The little mice in their underground burrows are framed with woodlands-y tree rings.  The mermaid is surrounded by shells.  It’s really such a fun project.

Tell Me A Story Quilt by Amy Friend

When I photographed the quilt for the book, I wanted to continue the story telling theme. I did a little photoshoot at an alpaca farm in town.  As you know, alpaca fur is used for yarn.  So I imagined the alpaca viewing the quilt and saying, “I see you know a lot about quilting. I know more about yarn myself.”  Silly and fun, that’s the name of the game!

I would like to invite you to dig into your stash and pull out some of those prized “fussy-cut-able” prints and tell a story of your own.

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Please share this image on your blog or on Instagram to spread the word.  For each block you make and share on Instagram (or each time you share the image above) using the hashtags #intentionalpiecingbook and #TellMeAStoryQuilt, you will be entered into a drawing.  On June 1st, I will draw a random winner from the IG hashtag #TellMeAStoryQuilt to win a bundle of fabrics from SewMeASong that were selected just for this project so that you can make more blocks and complete your quilt top!

I cannot wait to see your blocks and hear your stories! I will repost and share them on IG and here on my blog too.

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Intentional Piecing

Intentional Piecing by Amy Friend

I’ve been given the OK to share anything and everything from my book which has just started to make its way out into the world!  I am now shipping from my Etsy shop for those who would like a signed copy.  And I shared my book quilts out in public for the first time this week while visiting the Squanicook Colonial Quilt Guild.  I am looking forward to sharing them again tomorrow in Maine at the Coastal Quilters meeting.  After months of secret, I want to share everything all at once but I am going to try really hard to pace myself!  I plan to share a project or so each week for the next several weeks–the book is packed with projects!  It includes 7 quilts, a tote bag with 10 unique and interchangeable block designs for the outer pocket, two clutches, an applique sweater, pillow, and pin tray.


Selvage blocks by Amy FriendYou might be wondering what I mean by intentional piecing.  It’s a conscious, deliberate process of fabric selection to suit a pattern design (or vice versa) or aesthetic.  In this book, I designed each project to show one of the numerous ways that different types of fabrics can be used to their best advantage–from fussy cut motifs, to border prints, stripes, gradients, textured solids and even selvages.  I also ask you to consider adapting your pattern for the perfect fussy cut and show you how!  I absolutely love selecting fabrics for my projects and considering the best pattern to show them off.  I hope that love shines through in this book and infects you too!

Magnetic Pin Tray by Amy Friend

This magnetic pin tray is the first project in the book. It provides a comfortable way to ease into fussy cutting using clear plastic templates to isolate and cut motifs from some of your favorite sewing themed fabrics.  I know you have them….probably in excess, right?  It’s time to fussy cut some of those buttons and sewing machines and thimbles and make a cute little tray for your pins.  This is a easy project to whip up and it makes a great little gift for sewing friends.

Next week, I will introduce the next project and sew along!  I hope you will join in and play.  All the details are coming soon!

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Intentional Piecing, My Book!

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The day has finally come when I can share my big secret!  Goodness,  it’s hard to not talk about something that has been consuming all your time, thoughts and energy!  I am thrilled to announce that my book, Intentional Piecing, will be published by Lucky Spool in Spring 2016.  I am so proud to be a part of Lucky Spool.  With Lucky Spool, I’ve had the privilege of really making this “my” book.  I think you will find that the book reflects me and my work from the title, through to the projects, fabric selections and photography.  I love that I can present my work to you in a way that makes me feel so comfortable.  In fact, I was able to photograph all my projects.  How cool is that?  I hope that you will get a sense for my New England home when you see the photos that were all shot locally.

My book is focused on fussy cutting, which really shouldn’t be a huge surprise to my blog readers!  I love to cut my fabric just so and place it in a way that really makes a design effective.  This is what I mean by intentional piecing.  The book includes more than fussy cutting motifs, the book explores directional prints, stripes, gradients and even selvages!

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Of course, I had to include some new pictorial paper pieced blocks and am really thrilled with these 10 new designs.  But there is so much more inside the book!  I can’t wait till I can show you everything else!

In the meantime, if you want to preorder, Intentional Piecing is available on Amazon (that kind of feels surreal to write!).

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