Tallinn Fabrics Blog Tour

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I’m excited that today is finally my day on the Tallinn Fabrics blog tour. I was so happy when Jessica Swift invited me to participate in the blog tour. I fell in love with Jessica’s Tallinn Fabrics for Angles by Art Gallery Fabrics last Fall, when she debuted her first line at Fall Quilt Market. I’ve been brainstorming lots of fun projects to make with her fabrics since then.

I decided to make the Townsend Travel Bag by Sallie Tomato Patterns. Jessica’s designs were influenced by her travels in Eastern Europe. They definitely inspired me to dream of travels abroad. The first step to making those dreams a reality is to find the right luggage, or in my case, to make it.

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I used Odessa Dream, a large floral print – my favorite from the line – and a few coordinates, Sofia Sunrise, Sofia Midnight, and Zirkusbau Candy, a fun print with quirky bunnies and horses in bright, fun colors.

For this project, I used Sallie Tomato zippers by the yard and hardware. Zipper yardage is my new favorite way to buy zippers. The ability to custom cut a zipper to my desired length eliminates the need to hunt down a zipper in the right color and length. Sallie Tomato offers a variety of tape and teeth colors, which you can find here.

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The thing I enjoy most about bag making is checking off each step as I go. First step, cut all the pieces. Next, fuse the interfacing, and soon the pieces you’ve cut start to resemble a finished bag. Add zippers, assemble straps, bind the unfinished edges, and before you know it, a pile of fabrics and foam become a travel bag.

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This bag has a number of useful features, including internal pockets, a separate traincase compartment, and an optional adjustable crossbody strap. I was sure to add my favorite finishing touch, a “Handmade” tag by Emmaline Bags.

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I made a couple accessories to complete my travel set. I used the Jewelry Travel Pouch tutorial on the blog, A Happy Song. The drawstring pouch features eight small pockets. The exterior fabric is the vibrant coordinate from Tallinn fabrics, Sofia Sunrise, and the interior fabrics are Sofia Midnight, and Odessa Dream in Fairytale.

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Finally, I made a quick zipper pouch, which features Zirkusbau Candy, and is lined with Sofia Sunrise.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the projects I’ve made as much as I enjoyed sharing them. Jessica has quite a list of talented designers featured on her blog tour. I hope you’ll visit each of them and enjoy their Tallinn sewing projects as well.

  1. Thursday April 19 – Mathew Boudreaux | Mister Domestic
  2. Friday April 20 – Katie Skoog | The Simple Life Company
  3. Monday April 23 – Sharon Holland
  4. Tuesday April 24 – Eleri Kerian | Sew and Tell Project
  5. Wednesday April 25 – Paola Baker | Love of Fabrics
  6. Thursday April 26 – Maureen Cracknell
  7. Friday April 27 – Alexis Wright | My Sweet Sunshine Studio
  8. Monday April 30 – Isabelle Selak | South Bay Bella Studio
  9. Tuesday May 1 – Cassie Massolia | Lily Shine Creates
  10. Wednesday May 2 – Becca Plymale | Sunflower Seams
  11. Thursday May 3 – Alisa Kutsel | A Stitch In Between
  12. Friday May 4 – Sharon McConnell | Color Girl Quilts
  13. Monday May 7 – Karen O’Connor | Lady K Quilt Designs
  14. Tuesday May 8 – Sarai Schuk | Sarai’s Hobbies
  15. Wednesday May 9 – Elise Baek | Elise & Emelie
  16. Thursday May 10Jessica Swift
  17. Friday May 11Gwyn LaSpina
  18. Monday May 14 – Loni Jakubowski | Havin Sew Much Fun

 

Looking Ahead to 2018

2018 Planning Party

Yvonne of Quilting JetGirl is throwing a fabulous linky party. She has challenged us to look ahead to the new year and share our thoughts. As usual, I’m jumping in, just under the wire. Maybe I should add punctuality to my list of goals for the year! 
Participate in more design challenges and calls for proposals: This kind of goal really motivates me to try new things. With an assignment and a deadline, I’m game to try lots of new skills. Doing this alongside the rest of the challenge participants really enhances the learning experience for me.
Sew from my stash – In the last few months, I’ve unearthed lots of planned projects (read: piles of fabric) and so many fabrics I had forgotten about – fabrics I was dying to own at the time, but made the mistake of organizing them into the back of my fabric closet, behind a handful of totes holding more fabric. My ultimate goal is to sew completely from my stash, except when I’m completing a sponsored project or custom order. If I absolutely need to buy something to get the project just right, I will. That said, I’d love to use more of the beautiful fabrics I already own. 
Garment sewing – Toward the end of the year I made two knit shirts. They are super comfy and such a joy to wear. There’s just something about wearing a garment you made yourself. I have everything I need to make another knit shirt, two cotton blouses, three cotton tank tops, and the one I’m really afraid of – a wool coat. I’m determined to make at least one of each this year. 
Continue to develop and discover my voice – I’ve had so much fun sewing and sharing with all of you this year. There is so much inspiration to be had. It pushes me further as a quilter, a new blogger, and as an artist. I look forward to trying new techniques, honing my pattern writing and photography skills, and blogging more in an effort to share and reflect on what I’m up to. 
That’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll come up with lots more as the year goes on, but I’m happy with this as a starting place. What are your goals for 2018?

Dollhouse by Amy Sinibaldi ~ Free Quilt Pattern

When I first saw a preview of Dollhouse by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics, I knew I wanted to make something with the line.  The soft pinks and grays are just so gorgeous, and those butterflies and flowers are adorable.  Add a few geometric prints, and I’m definitely sold.

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I designed a lap quilt with my favorite quilt design app, Quiltography, and used my Quilter’s Planner to keep organized as I checked off the steps of making my quilt.

After a few block and color changes, I decided to make Deco Tiles, a quarter log cabin quilt using Dollhouse fabrics and a selection of Pure Elements and Floral Elements fabrics by Art Gallery Fabrics.

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The Deco Tiles block was designed to echo the print from Rooftop, one of the fabrics in the line.  I wanted to make the whole quilt a closer match to the Rooftop print, so I set the blocks on point.  Click here for a free PDF copy of the Deco Tiles Pattern if you’d like to make this quilt yourself. The pattern includes a detailed list of fabric requirements, and a  diagram for constructing the quilt top on point. If you do make a Deco Tiles quilt, I’d love to see it!  Please tag it on social media using #decotilesquilt so I can find it.

Now that the quilt is done, I’ve moved on to using the scraps in as many ways as possible.  I’ve got a set of butterfly wings for my daughter and a small purse for myself on the to-do list.  First, though, I’m making a wallet for Santa to deliver to a friend of mine.

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What projects do you make with your scraps after finishing a quilt?  I’d love to hear in the comments.  I’m always looking for new, fun projects to add to my ever-growing project to-do list.

Star Catcher Quilt Block Tutorial

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Block Size: 16″ finished (16.5″ unfinished)

The fabrics used in this tutorial are from Libs Elliott’s three collections for Andover: True Love, Tattooed, and Wild Side.  I’m using them for my Honey Pot Bee quilt, so I used them for the tutorial as well.


Cutting Instructions

For Corner HSTs:
       Two background squares: 4 7/8″ (I use 5″ squares and cut them down)
       Two Corner Color squares (purple in the photo above): 4 7/8″
For Blue Corner Bars:
       Four rectangles: 4.5″ x 2.5″
       Four rectangles: 6.5″ x 2.5″
For Triangle in Rectangle units:
       Center Star Color 1 (green in the photo): 8 rectangles : 3.5″ x 4.5″
       Background fabric: Eight 3.5″ x 2.5″ rectangles
       Center Star Color 2 (red in photo): Eight 3.5″ x 2.5″ rectangles
For center square unit:
       One center square (green in photo): 4.5″
       Four center corner squares (red in photo): 2.5″


Piecing Instructions

Use a scant 1/4″ seam allowance for nearly all steps, except the final construction of the block.  Look for further instructions near the end of the tutorial.

Step 1: Construct the Corner HSTs
Using the “two at a time” method, make four HST’s for the corners of your block. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of the two background squares.
Place two 4 7/8″ squares right sides together – one background fabric square and one outside corner color square –  and sew a quarter inch line on both sides of the diagonal line. Cut on the diagonal line, creating two HSTs.
Repeat with the remaining 4 7/8″ squares, creating four HSTs total. Press and trim to 4.5″.
Step 2: Sew Corner Bars to HSTs
Lay out your HSTs and the four 4.5″ x 2.5″ Corner Bar rectangles to match the photo below.  (Ignore the red and green center square for now.  I took the photos a little out of order.) Lay the two pieces right sides together and stitch using a quarter inch seam.  Press.
Lay out the units you just created to match the photo below, on the left.  Add the 6.5″ x 2.5″ corner bar pieces as illustrated.  Sew with right sides together.  Press.
You should now have four complete HST/Corner Bar units. Set these aside for use in the final construction of the block.
Step 3: Create the Center Square in a Square unit
Draw a diagonal line on the back of each of the four 2.5″ corner squares.
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Place two squares over opposite corners of the 4.5″ square.  Align the corners and edges of the smaller square with those of the larger square, right sides together.  The diagonal line on the wrong side of the smaller square should not intersect with the corner. Stitch on the line, right sides together.  Trim the excess, leaving a quarter inch seam allowance.  Your center unit should match the photo on the left after you’ve sewn two of the four corner squares. Press open. Sew the remaining two corner squares in the same fashion as the first two.  Press and trim.  Set aside for use in the final construction of your block.
Step 4: Create the Triangle in a Rectangle Units
For each triangle in a rectangle unit, you’ll need one Center Star Color 1 rectangle (3.5″x4.5″) and two smaller rectangles (3.5″x2.5″).  You’ll make four units with Background rectangles and four units with Center Star Color 2 rectangles. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of your background rectangles in one direction, then draw a diagonal line in the opposite direction on the remaining four background rectangles.  Do the same with your Center Star Color 2 rectangles.
Start with one 3.5″ x 4.5″ rectangle and one 3.5″ x 2.5″ rectangle. Your instinct may be to line them up as you would for a flying geese block.  Don’t!  You will end up with a wonky looking thing like this polka dot and green block below.
Instead, take your large rectangle and make three small marks across the top at 2″, 2.25″, and 2.5″.  Then, arrange the small rectangle over the big one as I have it in the photo below, with right sides together. The top corner is aligned with the 2″ mark, and the bottom corners are aligned.  Pin or hold in place, and sew on the diagonal line marked on the small rectangle.

Trim and press open. Your second background rectangle will have a diagonal line going in the opposite direction as the one you just used.  Mark the 2.5″ line (as illustrated below) on your background fabric to help with aligning the second rectangle.  Stitch on the diagonal line, trim, and press open.

Repeat until you have four Triangle in Rectangle units made with background fabric and four with Center Star Color 2 fabric.  Lay out one of each as illustrated below.

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Stitch the two units right sides together with a 1/4″ seam to create one diamond unit.  Repeat with the remaining Triangle in Rectangle units to create four matching diamond units.

Step 5: Final Block Construction
Lay out all 9 parts of your block.
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For the final construction, you will use a seam that is just under a quarter inch (about 1/16th of an inch under).  The geometry of the Triangle in Rectangle units is tricky, similar to Half Rectangle Triangles.  There are a few ways to deal with this in the construction of the block, but my personal preference is to reduce the seam allowance. In order to keep our diamond points, we need to use a super scant seam allowance.  In the photo below, you can see where I have aligned my block with my presser foot to achieve this.

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Sew the block together in three rows, using the super scant seam allowance.

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Lay the top and middle row right sides together.  Align the seams and pin or clip in place. Stitch together using the same super scant seam allowance.  Repeat for the bottom row. Press.  Trim evenly on all sides to 16.5″.

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Enjoy your finished Star Catcher quilt block!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial.  Please be sure to share your finished blocks on social media using #starcatcherblock.  Be sure to leave questions or feedback in the comments.  I’d love to hear what you think.

 

Enjoy The Journey

Do you EPP? I tried English Paper Piecing for the first time at the #EPPParty hosted by Mister Domestic and Pat Bravo over on Instagram. It’s been such fun learning new hand sewing skills and trying new blocks and shapes with each new block they introduce. The most recent block was #7: Chrysanthemum. I decided to go pretty literal with this one and found this photo for inspiration: 


I’ve been wanting to try improv sewing for awhile, and thought this was just the block for it. I selected a few pinks and yellows for the center and got to work. After a few hours of work, 8 Y seams, and a fat eighth worth of fabric invested, this is what I came up with:


I loved the way the improv turned out, but the stitches on the yellow strip were coming really loose at the curves. I might have been able to save it by cutting out a bit of the fabric at each of the corners, but I was afraid it might fray and come apart even more in the end, so back to the drawing board. I turned to one of my favorite techniques, weaving with my WEFTY needle (learn more here), and wasn’t disappointed. Here is the final version of my block:


One thing I’ve learned as a teacher, a crafter, and a mom is that “failure” is such an important part of success. I learned so much about improv, worked on a few Y seams, and enjoyed some unexpected fabric weaving on my journey to a block that I really love. Have you had any sewing “failures” that led to success? Maybe you sought out a new piecing technique? Or learned how to use a new notion? I’d love to hear about your journey. 

Quiltography App for Quilt Design

After a few months of sewing and quilting, I became interested in designing my own quilts.I designed a table runner for a summer fabric challenge using MS Excel, which worked perfectly for my plus sign design.  A couple months later I used MS Excel again to design my 2017 QuiltCon entry, but again, this design was all squares and straight lines.  Fast forward to October, when Katarina Roccella put out the call for entries for her Blithe Fabrics Blog Tour.  I had passed on calls for makers because I wasn’t a blogger.  Katrina said she would work with us on Instagram, and I was ready to work.

I decided to use Quiltography to design my entry, since it consisted of HSTs, something I couldn’t do easily in MS Excel.  The features offered by Quiltography, the ease of use, and interface are perfect for me as a new designer.

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Quiltography has features that allow you to use your stash in your designs, create your own blocks using your stash before building a quilt, and create a quilt design using a photograph.

The My Stash feature allows you to store photographs, taken by you or uploaded from another source, to use in your quilt designs.  The app gives you the option to save the name, fabric line, color information, measurements of the cut you have, manufacturer, purchase location, and release date of each fabric you enter.  I used the fabric swatches on the Art Gallery Fabrics website in order to design a quilt for the Blithe fabric blog tour.

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Once you have your stash set, you can move onto designing blocks.  Quiltography offers 186 block templates for you to choose and customize with fabrics from your stash.  The app also allows you to create a custom block using a grid and a variety of shapes.

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For the design I had in mind, I used the HST template to create blocks that used all the different fabrics in the line in various combinations.  Quiltography saves your blocks in a folder until you delete them.

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Once all of your blocks are set, you can move on to quilt design.  Quiltography uses a grid that allows you to insert blocks for your design. You can choose the number of squares for your design grid, up to 15 blocks square.  This works fine for many designs and block sizes, but still, it is a limitation that I would like to see changed in a future update.

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Just tap the squares on your grid that you would like to change, then select a block from the wheel on the right to insert into the highlighted squares.  You can edit your design using the buttons on the left to open the settings menu, link the highlighted squares and edit them simultaneously, rotate your blocks 90 degrees to the right, flip the highlighted blocks vertically or horizontally, or edit the highlighted blocks.

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The settings menu allows for further customization, including the addition of borders and corner stones, and turning the blocks in your quilt on point.

Once your design is complete, Quiltography estimates the amount of fabric needed to complete your quilt.

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This feature is incredibly helpful, but I would love to see it expanded to include the option of exporting this information in PDF format for easy sharing and reference.

Quilt designs are saved in a folder similar to the block and stash folders for easy reference.

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Features I would like to see expanded are the size of the quilt design grid, to accommodate larger quilt designs, and the ability to create a PDF version of the fabric requirements. The fact that Quiltography is an iPad only app limits those who can use it to people who own iPads.  That is definitely a problem for those quilters who don’t own an iPad or prefer not to use an iPad for quilt design.

Overall,  Quiltography is exactly what I need at this point in my quilt design journey and is definitely worth $9.99, a relatively high price tag for an app.  The My Stash feature makes it easy to jump in and design a quilt using fabrics I already have, or  plan to purchase.  The ability to design my own quilt blocks using the templates and block design features give me more than enough flexibility in terms of the quilts I can design. Having the fabric requirements and block requirements listed in an easy to read format is incredibly helpful for when I have a design I am ready to execute.

I thoroughly enjoyed using this app and would suggest it for those of you who are looking to get started in quilt design or want a portable option for basic quilt design.

Have you used Quiltography?  What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.