Wednesday, December 30, 2015


What's hot going into 2016?
Here go my totally subjective observations...
Firstly, I bet you can't help but notice all the coloring books for grown-up people. Detailed designs now attract a wider age demographic.
Fabric connoisseurs will appreciate the Cotton + Steel and Tula Pink coloring books.
Coloring opportunities are not limited to books! There's also a growing selection of fabric such as Color Me by Hayley Crouse.
In addition to the onslaught of adult coloring materials, I've noticed many fabric companies introducing different substrates including bunting, canvas, voiles, rayon, double gauze, cotton lawn, knits, and denim.
Before you shell out your hard-earned cash on Heather Ross' Mendocino or Tula Pink's Octopus Garden in Aqua, you'll want to take note of this next trend--reprints of the most sought-after, previously out of print, designer fabrics.
Fabric companies must have noticed the generous prices some are willing to pay for hard to find fabrics on Ebay and Instagram destashes. They are bringing back popular prints from lines such as Violet Craft's Brambleberry Ridge and Tula Pink's The Birds and the Bees.
While woodland creatures and southwestern motifs are still going strong, an emerging novelty theme I detected was stationary. Some examples I found were Heather Givans' Paper Obsessed and Amy Sinibaldi's Paperie
Patchwork, Please!, Heather Givans, and Carolyn Friedlander all have envelope patterns. Alternatively, create a paper airplane with the free pattern from Quiet Play on Craftsy.
So what other trends have you noticed?
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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Quilt Festival: Miniature Quilts

Sometimes there's an inverse relationship between the size of things and the appeal. Such is the case with the miniature quilts at Quilt Festival in Houston, TX. They are small is size, but certainly measure up in intricate detail.
Dancing Dahlia by Laura Welkin came away with the category's top prize. Her original design was made entirely by machine, using fused raw-edge appliqué with blanket stitch, and turned edge appliqué with an invisible machine stitch. Free-motion with silk thread was used for the quilting.
Dancing Dahlia by Laura Welkin

Pat Kuhns showed off her pointed precision with her Mariner's Compass mini, Sea Breeze. which won second place. She drafted her own foundation piecing pattern for the 2 1/2" blocks. The circles were attached to the top with needle turn appliqué.
Sea Breeze by Pat Kuhns

Third place went to Almost Squared Away II by Sharon Schlotzhauer, which is a shrunken rendition of Almost Squared Away.
Almost Squared Away II by Sharon Schlotzhauer

Honorable Mention was awarded to Come on to My House by Aki Sakai, who combined hand piecing, appliqué, embroidery, yo-yos, and itty bitty bunnies to successfully compress all the comforts of home into this red and gray marvel.
Come on to My House by Aki Sakai

Have your ever made a mini? Can you envision adding this amount of detail to something so small?

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Quilt Market: Moda

Guess what? Moda! Or more specifically, the Moda booth at Houston Quilt Market. Let's take a gander.
For pure adorableness, may I present Bonnie & Camille? Their fabric line, Vintage Picnic is pretty cute too.

Another mother daughter duo, Sherri and Chelsi of A Quilting Life, unveiled their line for Moda, Valley.
There's no shortage of eye-catching patterns for purchase from this mother-daughter team for those who want a jump-start on determining their fabric's destiny.
Vannessa Christenson of V & Co. displayed the vibrant possibilities of her ombres.
Jen Kingwell has Just a Speck, a polka dot collection, and Lollies coming out in March.
Who's your favorite Moda designer?
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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Arrowhead Transformation

Testing, testing...
Is this thing on?
Wait! Not that kind of testing---the pattern kind.
When Amy Garro of 13 Spools requested pattern testers, I threw out an offer. I've met her once in person, for a book signing of Paper Pieced Modern, and found her to be every bit as pleasant as she is talented. She asked me to try her Arrowhead block, which (spoiler-alert) isn't paper-pieced. It combines a classic Courthouse Steps block with user-friendly stitch and flip triangles.
I chose to make four regular Arrowhead blocks and four blocks with stitch and flip triangles in only one corner. Then, I left a whole bunch of negative space for future quilting possibilities. The top measures 4' square finished.
I paired Kona White with a charm pack of Transformation by Sarah Vedeler for Contempo Studio, a division of Benartex. Because everything except the background is cut smaller than a 5" square, Arrowhead is very charm pack friendly. 
The Arrowhead block is part of the Tribal Block Club, starting January 15. For an introductory membership fee of $29 (before Jan. 1), you will be privy to tutorials for 6 blocks, 3 quilt layouts, and infinite possibilities.Additionally, Amy is offering 18+ weeks of content, a learning community, and design support.
I do have a few "learn from Afton's mistakes" suggestions that you can apply to other blocks as well. First, cut your larger pieces first and/or make one block at a time if you don't have an abundance of fabric. I got carried away cutting four 2.5" squares from each charm square, and had to get creative for the larger colored pieces. It would have been much easier to use scraps left from cutting away the extra layers in the seam allowance to fill in for the smaller pieces.
Also, if you press the stitch and flip triangles in half instead of marking a line along the diagonal, it is possible to lay them in the corner, do a test flip along the pressed line to see if the block will lay as desired when sewn, and adjust accordingly.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Intrepid Thread Challenge

When I read the promise of "Free Fabric for you" on the Intrepid Thread blog, it caught my attention. Shortly after signing up for their challenge, a package arrived in the mail with a quarter yard of the hot pink Cotton + Steel Playful Word Game print by Melody Miller, an eighth yard of the Riley Blake Modern Minis Mint Arrows, and a mini charm pack of Moda's Modern Background Paper by Zen Chic.
Inspired by the tutorial at Sew Fresh Quilts, I decided to make a mini quilt using the Stepping Stones quilt block.
I modified the pattern so that the smallest unit would be a 2" finished square instead of a 1" finished square, which results in a 20" block instead of a 10" finished square. The mini charm was already precut to 2 1/2" unfinished, so I thought cutting each square down an inch would be wasteful and unnecessary.
Unfortunately, this took Lorna's handy dandy strip cutting out of the realm of possibility. As I'm a "Buy extra. Measure once. Cut at least once." kind of gal, I set about cutting into my limited materials before figuring how many blocks I could create. Come to find out, the answer is <1. A careful observer will notice some color placement shift on my block in comparison to the original.

But hey, I meant to do it that way all along. Wink, wink. The dense quilting was inspired by the ever talented long-armer Kathleen of Kathleen Quilts. Her Free Motion Friday segment is one of my favorite reoccurring blog segments.

The background diamonds were based on one of her helpful tutorials.
Thanks to The Intrepid Thread for allowing me to participate in their #intrepidthreadchallenge. If you haven't checked out The Intrepid Thread, I suggest you do. They have free blocks from the Sampler Block Shuffle and a Countdown to Christmas $4.99 Fabrics Sale, which are motivation enough for me.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fabric Favorites

I asked all you you what new collections caught your attention. Here are some popular favorites. First up, anything by Cotton + Steel was on the wanted list, especially Cat Lady and Bluebird.
Vignette by Annela Hoey for Cloud 9 Fabrics, coming out this month, is another sought after line. It is more mature than her previous collections, with organic cotton and double gauze prints based on her floral sketches.
Mendocino is Heather Ross' long-awaited reprint of her highly sought after oceanic line that was fetching epic prices on the black market.
Anything Alison Glass is a hit. She's got a little something for everyone with Abacus, Andover Jersey Knits, Handcrafted 2, and new Sunprints.
What's not to like about classic aqua, pink, navy, and red? Bonnie and Camille's Vintage Picnic for Moda is pure sweetness.
Tula Pink is always at the ready with a must-have collection. Chipper has irresistible squirrels and foxes. Her Timeless collection will be a relief to those who missed out on aqua octopuses and trees of life the first time around.
I don't know about you, but my inner child has a weakness for unicorns. Perhaps that explains my love for The Lovely Hunt by Lizzy House for Andover.
Speaking of love, did you hear Kona cottons and Tone-on-Tone just had a baby! Don't you just want to snuggle their cute little bundle of joy? Karen Lewis designed screen prints that were applied to Robert Kaufman's Kona cottons.
Rounding out the favorites are Carolyn Friedlander's Carkai and the return of Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope line.
If you have any remaining will-power to resist, you're a stronger person than I. See you next time!
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Monday, December 21, 2015

Lessons Learned Linky #1

Welcome to the inaugural installment of the Lessons Learned Linky! This is your chance to see how truly imperfect yours truly is. Oh yes, I almost forgot; it's also your chance to share your quilting growth, discoveries, helpful hints, ideas, and things you wish somebody would have told you sooner.
I stink at labeling. But it gets worse! I wanted to be like all the cool kids with their labels that can be sewn into the binding. Kati at From the Blue Chair shared her fancy labels from Etsy, and I splurged. The price isn't terribly high per label, but it's bulk ordering. Prices for colored woven labels start at $60 for 150 labels. I decided it would be prudent to spend an extra $10 for twice as many labels.
After much back and forth about the design with Steve from Hong Kong, I gave up on adding my name to the logo, and gave confirmation on my order.
The labels arrived.
Unfortunately, they are basically useless for their intended purpose---being able to be stuck in the binding and allowing me to avoid hand sewing a label on after a quilt is finished. Don't get me wrong; they're lovely. Just useless...and $70. Head hung in shame. Womp womp.
What I didn't know was that there are heap loads of label types. Cue the graphic sent by Steve of World Wide Label after I told him of my source of buyer's remorse. The key is specificity.
I'm giving it another go. Here's to not wasting another $70. If that happens, I will COL (cry out loud). And I don't want that to happen, because my husband will think I'm having a deranged postpartum moment. And it's not my cutie pie son's fault. It's these stinkin' labels that I still don't want to hand sew on a quilt. With fingers crossed, I'm cueing the new design.
Ika Print also does labels, so if you want some of your own, and aren't set on woven ones, they are another possibility.
There's also FinerRibbon, which you can read about on the My Quilt Infatuation blog.
Update: I should not have put the "Made by Afton Warrick" part upside-down because when you flip it up, it turns it upside-down.

Lesson Learned: Label fold types are many.

Don't think my folly ends there. I'm got another embarrassing surprise for you. After many more hours than I'd like to admit, I made a diaper changing thing-a-ma-jigger. It was beautiful. I mean, it was beautiful. Cue the before shot, aka evidence of former glory.
Now, it's time to startle my audience with a mangled mess resembling a "Don't Drink and Drive" campaign.
It all began as an experiment in using iron on vinyl in an effort to match my changing pad to my fabulous bag. So now I'm thinking this whole disaster is Cotton + Steel's fault for not producing a laminated cotton. Now it stands to reason that something iron-on will not respond favorably to being put in a drier. But let's face it, un-washable things do not belong in my child-ridden life. So now I'm thinking this whole disaster is my cutie pies son's fault. Sure, a person could take it out of the washer before it hits the toasty drier. But let's be honest here, it's only a matter of time before that's not going to happen. Because I forget things, like that iron-on vinyl melts with heat, as that's how I got it on the fabric in the first place.
I'm going to selvage what fabric I can from this, and make myself a new one with laminated cotton.

Lesson Learned: Iron-on vinyl hates the drier.

Then, I had a brilliant idea at the post office. I'd get postcard stamps, so I could save money and send fun designer postcards I picked up from Quilt Market for thank yous.

Smart idea, right? Except I forgot they were postcard stamps, and confused them for regular Forever stamps. And I put them on who knows what, or how many, packages before realizing how I went wrong.  So I'm sorry to all of you who got envelopes from me with insufficient postage. I hate it when people do that. (Like the time my mother-in-law sent a Dollar Tree toy with one stamp, and I had to drag all the kids to the post office to pay a couple bucks to break it free because I thought the withheld item was going to be much more illustrious.) Now I'm that person. Rag!

Lesson Learned: Postcard stamps look deceptively like regular stamps.

That's surely not all my mishaps, but it'll do for now.

Please join me. The linky will continue throughout 2016, with the first linky party concluding at the end of Janurary. To encourage you to play along, I'll be offering a prize to one randomly selected linker. Grab the button and leave the other participants some comment love.

Quilting Mod

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