Sixty Seconds Quilt

I thought I would share another quilt from my book, Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design today.  I named this quilt Sixty Seconds because I based my design on the traditional hourglass block.  I divided up the space a little bit differently though.  My hourglasses are asymmetrical, improvisationally sketched.  I decided to add lines for the sand falling through the hourglass just for fun.  I tried to find all white prints and black prints that had speckled types of designs on them that suggested sand.  I had to go on quite a hunt to find them all!  I folded the quilt back in this picture because I love this backing for this particular quilt so I wanted to make sure it showed. I just feel like it fits the mood of the quilt nicely.

I decided to lay my blocks out with a lot of negative space so that the layout was also an hourglass shape. Here in New England, there are lots of barns with X shaped supports on their doors and I thought it would be great to get a picture of the quilt on a barn with such a door.  This one was perfect, with two doors and a nice plain wall for hanging!

Here’s a little detail so you can see some of the prints and the quilting. I quilted in an regular irregular grid where the lines were all spaced either an 1/2″ apart or 1″ apart.

Debbie from A Quilter’s Table recently reviewed my book and made a table runner using this block pattern as the basis of the design. Then, she added her own spin. Check it out!

 

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!

Catawampus Quilt

My Catawampus Quilt hung in the Lucky Spool booth at Quilt Market this fall and has been shared a bit on Instagram as a result. But I haven’t shared it here yet! I like to have each quilt documented on my blog–it helps me when I forget things!

This quilt can be found in the shape section of my book, Improv Paper Piecing. The exercise that corresponds with this block is titled “Wonky” because I started my design process with an asymmetrical or wonky half hexagon.  I named the quilt Catawampus, a word meaning askew, awry, or cater-cornered.  To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t heard the word until I was writing the book. I was using the Thesaurus to look up some new terms for “askew” and “asymmetrical” because I was using them so heavily in my writing.  And that’s how I found Catawampus.  I had to use it. What a fun word!

I made this quilt in the fall and collected the items in the photo above from my late fall garden to serve as color inspiration. I enjoyed using the warm color tones and it was the first time that I ever used yellow for a quilt background.  It felt very brave at the time but I love it!  The quilt is just so warm and happy.  It was also a lot of fun to make.  I can imagine it as a great scrap buster too, can’t you?  I actually worked exclusively from my stash for this one and I bet you could too.

It’s quilted in straight lines, about a half inch apart. I quilted that way because the straight lines help to obliterate the construction seams which really make the half hexies look like they are tumbling down.

Here’s a great photo of the quilt that couldn’t have happened without helpers.  I really like taking quilt photos on windy days because I think that quilts in motion are so pretty. But, there are obvious challenges.  My mom was right outside the edge of this picture ready to catch the quilt in case it blew off. It was also pinned to the railing because I really didn’t want it to land in the water!

I am excited to announce a contest based on my book this Wednesday!  If you don’t have a copy yet, you might want to pick one up because the prize is really, really good!!

 

Melon Ice Pattern Variation

I just finished up another sample for my beginning paper piecing class.  I almost didn’t get a picture of it this morning because the wind is gusting so hard, it kept pulling my runner off the barn and blowing it down the hill!

I often use my Melon Ice Quilt (see above) pattern on a smaller scale to teach beginners.  Making the blocks 4 1/2″, rather than over-sized, is easier and perfect for introducing paper piecing.  The fabrics are easy to precut for these shapes and each block is made as a single unit without components that need to be sewn together.

This is the original quilt layout, as exported from EQ7.  I played around with alternate layouts to design a table runner out of the smaller blocks.  While it’s possible to do this on the design wall too, I love being able to rotate the blocks and redefine the number of blocks in the top quickly and easily in EQ in order to come up with lots of ideas!

This is the layout that I have been sharing with my students in my workshops.  As you can see, especially in the EQ7 layout diagram on the right, there are only two full rings of blocks in the center, with partial rings surrounding it.  Rather than using contrasting, alternating solids for the rings, as I did in the original, I used all Anna Maria Horner prints in very similar colors and prints.  The end result is scrappier.  After looking at it a bit, the pattern of rings emerges.

Recently, I played with sample blocks I had been making in class and mocked up a different layout where the blocks created interlocking X shapes instead of rings.  I love this layout too.  There are so many possibilities!  You will notice that I just “colored” my layout with solids. It is possible to upload fabric files to your library or to scan in your actual fabrics too.  I occasionally use this feature but very often, I just color in solids to remind myself of placement and can visualize it from there.

This runner was quilted on the diagonal, echoing the X shapes.  I spaced my lines either 1/4″ or 1/2″ apart to make an irregular grid.  I used a variegated 40 weight lavender/purple thread.  I don’t usually sew with a lot of purple but I really do like it combined with the soft yellows, chartreuse and grey.  One of the things I like about smaller projects is trying new color combinations. It’s not as big of a commitment as a whole quilt!

I am working on one more version of this pattern, this time a pillow cover, with fussy cut diamonds and an alternating X and ring layout. I will be back soon to share it!

If you are interested in the Melon Ice pattern, it’s in my shop.  If you email me with proof of purchase, I am happy to share the 4 1/2″ block pattern with you as well.

Sea Glass Quilt

I just returned from QuiltCon in Savannah where I taught three classes, one of which was Improv Paper Piecing, based on the shape based section of my new book, Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design.  I really enjoyed teaching this class.  While I was writing this book, I was already anticipating what a fun workshop it would make, and I think it did!  At least, I know I had fun seeing the designs that my students were coming up with, helping them to figure out their numbering order for paper piecing, and then talking about all the possibilities for color placement and layouts to make their blocks successful.  Everyone made interesting and unique blocks. You can see some of them on my Instagram feed @duringquiettime.

I really think that this combination of improvisation and paper piecing, takes paper pieced design to a new level and it is so fun!!!

This is one of the quilts from the book; it’s called Sea Glass.  It’s one of the quilts that I showed my students because it’s from the shape based section of my book.  This quilt is composed of two paper pieced blocks, broken into a crazy quilt like design.  The blocks are unevenly sashed, on point, and rotated, resulting in irregular spacing throughout which I just love.

I normally quilt all my own quilts but chose to send this one out to Christina Lane of Sometimes Crafter.  I feel like Christina really listened to me when I told her what I was looking for and she did impeccable work on my quilt.  I told her that as a designer, I want the bold shapes of the piecing to be the first thing that you see.  I wanted the quilting to be complimentary but not overpowering. The squares that were quilted in the background on the pieced side of the quilt, help emphasize the uneven nature of the spacing between blocks.  The quilting inside the squares suggests the prismatic quality of glass shards, which works well with the sharp and pointy piecing and the sea glass color palette. In the negative space, she quilted a zigzag edge to represent water washing onto the shore with circular bubbles for foam.  I think it was a successful collaboration and I am happy to recommend Christina’s work.

I need to give a shout out to my kids who where dragged around about this time last year on their school vacation so that I could take these photographs at the beach.  While it might not look it, it was freezing and quite windy at the sea shore here in New England, and they were pretty good sports.  They even modeled for me (though I didn’t end up using this photo in the book).  They also hid behind the boardwalk railing to hold the corner of my quilt while I took the pictures.  They were under strict orders not to let go for anything!

If you are interested in a copy of my book, you can purchase a signed copy with free shipping from my Etsy shop and of course, you can check your local quilt shop and book store or buy from Amazon.

 

Luminous Quilt

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

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

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

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

 

Peacock Crossing; A Sneak Peek from Improv Paper Piecing

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

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

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

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

Bamboo Table Runner Pattern is Ready

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

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

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

Bamboo Table Runner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Improv Paper Piecing is Shipping!

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

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

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

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

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

Stars Hollow Quilt

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Ice Skate Block

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

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

Knitting Socks Project Bag

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

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

Christmas Tree Pattern

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

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

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

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

Happy holidays!

 

Arboreal Quilt


Arboreal Quilt by Amy Friend

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

Arboreal by Amy Friend

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

Arboreal by Amy Friend

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

Arboreal Quilting by Amy Friend

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

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

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Gilmore Girls Sewalong Part 5

Jess's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

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

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

Taylor's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

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

gilmore-girls-collageb

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

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

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Gilmore Girls Sewalong Part 4!

Mrs. Kim's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

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

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

Lane's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

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

Christopher's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

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

Miss Patty's Coffee Cup by Amy Friend

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

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

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Coffee Time!

Logan's Coffee Cup

A couple of weeks ago, I started sewing blocks using my Rise and Shine Coffee Pattern and choosing my fabrics to describe each character in the Gilmore Girls series.  My goal is to finish this quilt before the new episodes air later this month!

I have invited all of you to join me and sewalong. It’s not a really official sewalong because I am winging it. But I am inviting you to wing it with me and play along. It’s a lot of fun.  At some point, I will decide that I have enough blocks and have covered enough of the characters and then I will figure out how to assemble the quilt top and will share that information too.

A couple of things to keep in mind if you are sewing along…make sure you have nearly a FQ for each block background, especially if you have a directional print.  Also, because the coffee cup tops and steam are white or near white, you will want to choose colored backgrounds with enough contrast to see the white.

This block is for Logan.  He was Rory’s boyfriend toward the end of the series. They worked together at the Yale newspaper (hence the red newspaper print).  He and Rory jumped from a high platform holding umbrellas in the Life and Death Brigade.  And finally, he was always playing cards with his buddies and he called Rory “Ace.”

Emily's Coffee Cup

This is Emily’s block.  She is Rory’s grandmother, Lorelai’s mother.   The sofa suggests her love of interior decorating and reminds us of all those uncomfortable Friday night dinners that took place over cocktails.  The cocktail print also suggests Emily’s love for throwing elaborate catered affairs.  And finally, the cup is topped with a string of pearls suiting Emily’s station.

Dean's Coffee Cup

Dean was Rory’s first boyfriend.  I chose the text print up top that reads “I love your quirks” because Dean must have in order to hang around those Gilmore girls!  Dean worked at Doose’s market where he offered Rory a soda and held it behind his back to make her guess the flavor. Then he kissed her for the first time.  I chose the aqua print because it reminds me of tire tracks and Dean built Rory a car for their anniversary and told her that he loved her.

That star print on the side is going to be the perfect Stars Hollow sashing!!

Feel free to use my fabric combos or come up with your own for your favorite Gilmore Girls memories.

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Tell Me A Story Holiday Sewalong!

TellMeAStoryHoliday

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.

tellmeastoryprizes

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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Shibori Quilt

Shibori by Amy Friend

I’m so excited to finally share this quilt. I had a hard time making time for it with my busy fall schedule but, tada, it’s done!

This quilt was designed using the improvisational paper piecing technique that I outline in my second book, Improv Paper Piecing, that will be published in February.  I am so excited to share this book with everyone and teach you my technique!

Shibori by Amy Friend

After much hemming and hawing, I have decided to name this quilt Shibori.  While the individual blocks suggest leaves, the repeat, especially colored in this gradient, feels a lot like tie dye or shibori to me.  My fabric selections are all Pure Elements solids from Art Gallery Fabrics.

Shibori by Amy Friend

The backing is a Cotton + Steel print from the Print Shop collection by Alexia Abegg.  I love not only the awesome color match but the modern feel of the print and it’s touch of whimsy that compliments the graphic design of the quilt front.

Shibori by Amy Friend

I often use solids when I really want my pattern design to take center stage, which is what I did here.  Then I find myself wishing I didn’t have to quilt because I don’t like quilting that takes away from that bold statement.  I find that straight lines are normally the best option because they don’t tend to detract and I end up liking the layer of added interest.  Here I quilted in vertical lines using Aurifil 2600 (a light gray that I love) and Aurifil 1147 (for a pop of green).  I used a 50 weight thread for the majority of the quilting which is spaced at 1/4″ and 1/2″ intervals, but the green pops are in 40 weight so they stand out a bit more.

The finished quilt measures 48″ x 56″.

Shibori by Amy Friend

I’m also appreciative that the foliage cooperated for these shots.  Had I finished even one week later, I would have missed that gorgeous color.

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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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Caged Quilt

Caged Quilt by Amy Friend

I recently finished my latest large scale paper piecing project, the Caged Quilt.  These blocks are BIG–nearly 3 feet long.  It made for tricky piecing but the paper piecing technique allowed for great precision which is what I was going for.  The finished quilt measures 50″ x 64″ and is made using five different Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements Solids, carefully chosen and placed to create a sense of depth and dimension.

Caged Quilt detail by Amy Friend

I created this design based on something I doodled in my sketchbook months ago.  After playing around with the design, I arrived at this layout and configuration. I think it has a strong Art Deco feel to it with the precise geometric design and bold colors.

Caged Quilting Detail by Amy Friend

I kind of didn’t want to quilt this piece at all because I loved the crisp, clean lines. I wanted to quilt it in a way that didn’t detract from that at all so I went with 1/2″ spaced lines using Aurifil 50 weight thread (their finer thread so it blended more than the 40 weight would have).  I wanted the piecing to be more prominent than the quilting.  I chose a light grey thread.

In this detail shot,  you can see a bit of the backing fabric–it was just perfect for the angularity of the pieced design!  It’s one of Pat Bravo’s Essentials II prints.

Caged by Amy Friend

I am really pleased with the execution of this design.  You just never know for sure until you try it, right?  I am happy that it turned out the way I had hoped.

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Special Ingredients

cover

So, I have to admit it, when Lucky Spool posted something on IG months ago talking about publishing their first cookbook, I fell for it hook, line and sinker.  I was excited too because I like to cook!  However, the actual project, The Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson, was not a let down by any means.  It’s a beautiful, hardcover book with 50 block patterns, or recipes, and unique sampler quilt layouts to showcase the blocks. Amy has figured out the quilt math for you and provides you with many options so that you can use the blocks in a myriad of ways and make them your own.  That’s just what I decided to do.

Owl Medallion by Amy Friend

I had recently made a paper pieced owl block of my own design (pattern can be found in my book, Intentional Piecing: From Fussy Cutting to Foundation Piecing). I enlarged it to 16″ and pieced it using Maureen Cracknell’s new collection called Nightfall.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the block and was pondering some sort of medallion when The Quilt Block Cookbook arrived at my doorstep. I added a 2″ border so that I could surround the owl block with 9″ blocks.

plus-one-block

I used the Plus One Block from Amy’s book.  I was so happy to see that she had the templates for the orange peel applique in a number of sizes so there was one that was just right for my 9″ block even though the recipe was for a 12″ finished block.

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The quilt backing is a fun mishmash of the rest of the Nightfall Collection.

Owl Medallion by Amy Friend

I’m really happy with the way the design worked out. The appliqued leaves on this block are just perfect with the owl.  I added one leaf on the otherwise plain corner blocks to make a sort of ring around the owl.  They lend the perfect softness to the design, balancing the pluses.

princess-cut-quilt

I think my favorite part of the book, besides the beautiful photos and Amy’s inspirational blocks, are the truly unique sampler layouts.  Often, I find sampler quilts a little too busy and like to see the blocks have some room to breathe.  Amy handles this beautifully–here is one example, the Princess Cut Quilt.  She has incorporated negative space into many of the layouts too, requiring fewer pieced blocks–I can see this being really helpful for those stacks of bee blocks that we all have hanging around waiting to be made into quilt tops!

I believe that I will turn to this book again for inspiration and am happy to add it to my quilt book shelf.  I think you would enjoy it too.  It can be purchased here.

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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.