Monday, April 30, 2012

Heart of Texas Quilt Show Re-Cap!

We are back in the studio and had a fabulous time in Brownwood!  I took some pictures to share of our booth as well as some of the beautiful quilts on display!

This is just a small selection of some the quilts on display!  They were all so beautiful!

It was another fabulous show and we are already looking forward to 2013!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

One Last Sample!

We are nearly ready for Brownwood and as we were mocking up our booth layout, I forgot one very small but important thing!  We are using a beautiful antique spindle bed in our booth to display our Lark Quilt and I need a pillow!  Just a simple pillowcase will do! 

If you are an avid sewer like me, I'm sure you've heard of the One Million Pillowcase Challenge!  Here is a link to the info:

This is a very worthwhile and EASY charity challenge that you can be involved in.  They give you fabulous FREE pillowcase instructions and patterns for you to choose from.  Pillowcases are all over the place because of this endeavor by American Patchwork and Quilting.  My Aunt and I have done a ton of pillowcase sewing and we have a fave pattern!  We call it the "Hot Dog" but it is also referred to as the Roll Up or Sausage.  You'll need:

1- 26 1/2" x 41" Main Fabric
1- 10" x 41" Cuff Fabric
1- 2" x 41" Trim Fabric

Here are a few quick videos on how it goes together!

Please hang in there with me on the videos.  I am almost always alone in the studio so I'm still trying to figure out the best place for the camera!

Now that your "Hot Dog" has been pressed, fold your pillowcase WRONG sides together and sew around your raw edges with a scant 1/4" seam.  Take your pillowcase to your ironing board and press your seams.  Turn your pillowcase inside out and press it flat.  Sew a 3/8" seam all the way around the seam you just sewed.  You have now made a French Seam!  All raw edges are enclosed!  You might want to trim any straggly threads before you turn your pillowcase inside out to finish your French Seam, otherwise they'll peek out of your freshly sewn seam! 

Well, I better get back to work packing up for our show!  I can't wait to post pictures of our booth!  If you're in Brownwood, TX this weekend, come visit us!  We'll be at the Coliseum on Saturday and Sunday!

Monday, April 23, 2012

I'm Strip Tubing!

Strip Tubing is a quilting technique developed by The Cozy Quilt Shop out of El Cajon, California (my hometown!) which uses a special ruler and a jelly roll.  It's quick, it's easy and it's beautiful!  Right up my alley!  We just placed an order for more rulers AND some patterns that use the Strip Tube Ruler!  

I chose to work with the Hello Luscious Jelly Roll by Basic Grey!  It's so beautiful!

Here is a quick tutorial:

First, choose a jelly roll (or 40 2.5" strips) and separate them out into 10 groups of four.  One strip should be a solid or tone-on-tone as your background.  (This is the Daniela Block that I'm making here.  The directions come with the ruler along with directions for half square triangles made from a tube!)

For each set of 4 strips do the following:
Sew your background and a print together for the full length of the strip (44") with a 1/4" seam.  Sew the other two strips together the same way.

Place these two strip units right sides together with seams "nested" and sew the full length, 1/4" seam, down both sides to form a tube. 

Here is your strip set in "tube" formation.  One long 44" tube made from 4 2.5" strips.

Take your Strip Tube Ruler and place the 5 1/2" line over your seam (thread) line.  Cut out the triangle.

Without moving your tube, flip your ruler to the other side and line up your seam line under the 5 1/2" line on your ruler.  Again, cut out this triangle.  Continue this for the length of your tube until you have 8 triangles, 4 from each side.  You have plenty of room to make a fresh cut on each side of your triangle.

Open them up and, voila!  You have your units needed to make up your 10" finished block!

My sample on the left has my tone-on-tone background in the middle and my sample on the right is put together the opposite way.  But both blocks came from the same strip set!  I love how different they look!

Here's a couple short videos showing you the magic as it happens!  We are still playing with the video thing.  Haven't quite got everything figured out yet but you can still see how it all works!



This is a quick sample I am whipping up for our show in Brownwood, TX this weekend!  If you'll be in town, stop by and I will demo this live and in person for you!  I can't wait to show you the finished product!  This fabric is so...well....LUSCIOUS!



Friday, April 20, 2012

Gypsy Skirt in Gypsy Caravan!

Have I told you before that my ancestry line includes Norwegian gypsies?  No?  Well, it's true!  I descend from gypsies!  I think that little fact is too cool and it actually explains quite a bit about my personality!  After all, I travel all over the lands to sell my wares!!  (In my most dramatic Norwegian accent!)  Really I mean my more Boho fashion preferences!  One year, I even dressed up as a gypsy for Halloween and read my crystal ball at the front door to all who braved a trick-or-treat!  Embarassed the heck out of my daughter but I thought it was a blast!  If it weren't for the outrageous amount of jewelry and the fake eyelashes, you wouldn't have ever known I was in costume!  I love big flowy skirts!  Let's face it, these Texas summers aren't kind to those of us who aren't into shorts!  If I were to strut around showing off anything above the knee, I would blind half the population.  These legs haven't seen sun in quite some time.  So, I live in skirts and sundresses over the summer.  Which is why I've been harping on the skirt thing lately!  I'm building my summer wardrobe.

Amy Butler's STASH Gypsy Caravan line arrived last week and as soon as I had it unpacked, I started picking for my next skirt.  This time, I used Kay Whitt's first Fashion Formula Skirts booklet.  It has a beautiful bohemian skirt on the cover!  This is Trixie.

The perfect choice for my upcoming summer which will certainly feel like I'm sitting on the sun.  (Okay, I'm a tad dramatic but last summer in this place KILLED me.  Why can't the Navy send us to, oh I don't know, the North Pole?  More my speed.)

Since my last skirt was of the blue persuasion, I opted for the beige and coral avenue this time.  Very summery!  This particular skirt is extremely easy to construct.  She gives you a nifty worksheet to figure out each tiers length that will work off your fullest hip measurement.  It gives you two options for a 30" or 36" length.  I opted for the 36" since I am upwards of 5' 11" depending on what shoe I wear.  She also gives you the option for the trim between each tier like the photo above.  I opted to not add that.  I went for an elastic waist which is always comfortable and convenient during summer!  The fabric requirements will differ for each length as the longer length will require a wider tier.  Please note here that the fabric requirements do not take into account pre-washing.  I think I'm the last person on earth that pre-washes!  Tier one requires 1/2 yard for the larger sizes which was plenty, Tier 2 requires 1/2 yard for all sizes which I found to be a fraction too short because of the pre-washing.  The tier strips need to be 9" each so if you only have 18" of fabric and pre-wash it, any shrinkage or fraying you experience will take away from the full 18" you need.  My suggestion here is, if you are doing the 36" length, grab a few extra inches, maybe 5/8 yard instead 1/2 yard, if you plan on pre-washing.  I ran into the same problem with Tier 3.  Requirements are 5/8 yard (22.5") but you need two 11" strips for the 36" length skirt.  I always pre-wash my fabrics if I'm sewing garments so with a little shrinkage and the fraying of raw edges, I was short about an inch.  In the grand scheme of this skirt, no big deal.  I worked with what I had and it turned out the perfect length!  You won't run into this problem with the 30" length as your strips aren't quite as wide.  Just a tip for us Talls (those who watch RHOA will get that).

I was a bit worried about the weight of the skirt.  After all, these types of skirts you buy at the stores are usually made out of a lightweight rayon or gauze type of fabric.  Because there isn't a ton of gathering on this skirt, the weight is PERFECT!  I got a little creative with the hem.  I am obsessed with saving every bit of hand-crocheted trim I can find at flea markets and antique shops so I dug through my supply and found a few matching pieces that would fit around the bottom of the skirt.  I top-stitched it close to the edge and I just re-purposed a beautiful piece of trim made who knows how many years ago!  I did pre-wash and even bleached it before attaching it to the skirt. I'm thrilled yet again with another Sew Serendipity pattern!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gum Drops! Sugar-Free!

In keeping with our Home Decor theme for Wednesdays, I wanted to show you our booth samples of the Gum Drop Pillows.  This is another Amy Butler Pillow Pattern and has been around for a while, longer than the Honey Bun from last week.  Another very easy to construct pattern, the hardest part was cutting out the pieces.  The way everything goes together, you almost HAVE to take advantage of it and create a kaleidoscope!  This makes it a bit challenging to make sure that your pieces are identical but it was so worth the extra work!  I love how they came together!  I used Home Decor fabric from Love and Lark.  If using Home Dec, you don't need any interfacing.  You can also make these with Quilting Weight but you will need to interface to give the pillow extra stability. 

They are so very stackable!  I started with the large size.  You have 6 pieces that are sewn together to make your pillow.  Sewing three pieces together for one side and then the other, you place these two units right sides together and sew all the way around leaving an opening on one side to stuff.  The directions say to hand sew this side shut which I did for the large pillow but it's so easy to put a zipper in, I added one to the small pillow.

She has you sew the top half of the pillow first, leaving the bottom half open for a moment so you can sew this hexagon over the top.  You can see this in the photo above.  The purpose of this hexagon is to cover up your intersection at the top where your pieces come together so no worries if your seams don't match perfectly!  Use this opportunity to use a coordinating fabric as well!  Make your hexagon different than your main fabric!  So many options!

I am in love with my small Gum Drop!  Not only is it some of my favorite Home Decor fabric from Lark but the design it made going together is so neat!  Each pattern piece is identical where on the large size, I made every other piece identical.

And look!  I loved my intersection at the top, I didn't want to cover it up!  Look at Amy's pillows she had made up for her Gypsy Caravan photo shoot!  Beautiful!  And she uses Quilting Weight here! 

Photo Courtesy of Amy Butler Design.

Home Decor sewing is simple and fun! 
What are you waiting for!?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Large and in Charge!

When I first opened my fabric shop, I filled it full of fabric I loved.  We started with all Amy Butler fabrics, added a little Heather Bailey, Kaffe Fassett, Art Gallery and just kept adding.  While the design aesthetic from one designer to the next is certainly different, one thing was obviously consistent through most of these contemporary designers lines....Large Scale Prints.  Large scale prints can be challenging, especially in the quilting world. It's easy enough to use them in a shoulder bag, garments or home decor items but it wasn't until recently that they were thought of in mainstream quilting.  Now, there are entire pattern books dedicated to quilting with large scale prints.  I love a good LSP!  And the more color saturation, the better!  Add the Funk Factor, and I'm sold!  Insert here, Tula Pink.  I've been following Tula's career in the textile world since her first line for Moda.  She is a true sketch artist.  When you see a piece of her fabric, you know it's hers.  I love that about her!  Things are not what they seem to be with her fabrics.  At first glance, it's just gorgeous fabric, but take a closer look and you might find a snail, a spider or some other creature making up that flower, tree or lace design. 

I've made plenty of handbags with Tula's fabrics but when I saw this print, Cameo from Parisville, I challenged myself to come up with a quilt.  Honestly, I love this fabric so much I would wallpaper my entire house in it if I thought my husband wouldn't move out.  So, a quilt it is.  I cut myself a yard and immediately decided that whatever I was making was going to be on point so I could follow the design of the cameos.

Fussy cutting isn't my favorite thing to do but it was necessary for this project. I cut these into 10.5" squares at first and then kept trimming them until I was left with an 8" square.

I framed the square out with the Pomegranate Eye Drops to add a 1" finished frame.

I sashed it with 2.5" strips of French Lace in Sky and used scrap from the Cameo print for the posts. 

I have pieced quilt tops on point before but I've always had a pattern to follow.  This one was being created as quickly as I thought it up.  I have no math skills to allow me to figure out my inset triangles and corners so I just liberally cut pieces to fit in there and trimmed it down to 1/4" when I was squaring it up.  Now I'm ready for borders and to be honest, I'm a bit stuck.  I have a print I want to use:

It's called Sea of Tears and has beautifully sketched ships inside the drop.  My problem is, do I cut more so that all the ships are right side up or does it matter?  This is going to hang in my studio and I really don't want to make the wrong decision or I'll stare at it all day.  I'm leaning toward just cutting more so all my ships are right side up and not floundering upside down anywhere.  I'll keep you updated here on my progress!  If you like this fabric, we do still have some in the shop!  It's an older line and will disappear soon I am sure!

I do intend on writing up a tutorial for this as soon as I have the whole thing figured out.  I'll make sure to post it here first!  I really wanted this pattern to work with any large scale print and I'm proud of what I came up with!  I'm looking forward to getting it bordered and quilted so I can get it up on my studio wall! 

We have some of Tula's new line, Nightshade on order as well.  Not the whole line but I wanted to try it out.  I think it's the funkiest thing she's done since, well, her last line....everything she designs is rad.  To be honest, my 11 year-old thought this was the coolest fabric she'd ever seen.  Look closely and you'll see some skull and cross bones among the flowers.  It might just be enough to motivate the 11 year-old to put the Nintendo down for a moment and create!   A mom can dream!

Friday, April 13, 2012

A + B = A KILLER Skirt!

Kay Whitt is a Rock Star in the design world!  She is the sole reason I love to sew garments!  Many years ago, I tried, Lord knows I tried, to teach myself how to sew garments.  But the patterns that were available to me back then were like reading a completely different language.  There were no patterns out there that were made for the beginner in mind.  As a result, a lot of fabric and garment pieces ended up in a box in my closet.  It was YEARS before I picked up the urge to try it again.  It all started when I met Kay at Fall Quilt Market in 2009.  She was wearing this amazing trenchcoat..Sophia to be precise!  I decided it was high time to give this garment thing a try again.  I amazed myself at my abilities!  Well, okay, it really wasn't my abilities but I finally found a pattern writer who spoke my language!  You know, basic english! 

Kay is a super talented designer who owns her own pattern company, Sew Serendipity.  She has several pattern books out and I own every one of them!  I really can't put my finger on why I can sew so beautifully while following her pattern versus a random pattern you can find at the "big box" stores but I just do!  I want to zero in on one particular pattern booklet that she has designed.  It's called Fashion Formula Skirts.  There's a Vol. 1 and now a Vol. 2.  I've made skirts out of both and I'm so smitten with the concept of these booklets.  If you're a math junky (and even if you're not) you will LOVE this!  The booklet first goes into your basic instructions entitled "General Instructions".  It will take you through the Recommended Tools and Notions, Sewing Terms and Abbrevitions, Seam Allowances and give instructions on how to properly take your own measurements for fit purposes.  It then goes into Technique covering options for finishing off the top of the skirt, hem band options and instructions on pressing intentional folds.  Next, she gives you patterns for three (Vol. 1) to four (Vol. 2) different skirts.  Within each pattern, she gives you options for making it different and your own.  Geez, I forgot to mention the coolest part...NO PATTERN PIECES!!  So, here is MY skirt equation:

Elastic AND Drawstring Waist + Straight Hem Band + Gabrielle Godet Skirt, 2 Fabric Variation, 30" =
Joy's awesome new skirt!

I love, love, love it!  I used Amy Butler Soul Blossoms Corduroy for the main print and Soul Blossoms Quilting Weight for the Godets.  This particular skirt came from Volume 2.

You can find all the fabric and the pattern booklet in our shop to make your own fabulous skirt! 
It's skirt season!  Why not show off some of your fave fabric in your own wearable creation!?