Monday, September 30, 2013

Lucky Star Block of the Month: October Block + a few winners

Happy Monday to you! I'm excited to share October's block for the Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club, the Chaos Star. I really love how this one came together, but I have to admit, I spent quite a few moments questioning my fabric choices as I worked on piecing this one, but I trusted my gut and kept on trucking. I'm glad I did too - I wasn't sure how the outer ring would come together, with the dark cerise Flora and Fauna print with the assorted lighter pink prints, but I really like how they all work together to give a feeling of motion in that outer ring. I'm fairly sure I say this every month, but this month's star is one of my favorites! Club members, you'll receive this block in your Inbox first thing tomorrow morning.

Lucky Stars BOM October: Chaos Star

I owe you all three winners from last week's great Andover Textured Solids charm pack giveaway. And here they are, in no particular order :

#137: Alyce
#3: Jennifer Lowe
#89: Leila

Congrats, ladies! I'll be in touch with you today to get your lovely fabric on your way to you!

Lucky Stars BOM so far!

I hope you're enjoying working through the Lucky Stars blocks - or if you're collecting them for a rainy day, I hope you're enjoying that, too! We've got just two more blocks to go now, so I'm starting to think about 2014. I'm thinking of doing another block of the month club for 2014, I've had so much fun with this one, and there were many, many stars that didn't make it into this year's line-up, so tell me something - would you be in for some more stars with me?
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stained Glass Strings: A Simple Quilt Tutorial and Giveaway

I've got a mid-week treat for you! Check out the new Stained Glass Strings quilt I just finished...

Stained Glass Strings - Baby size

This little quilt was one of those projects I started when I had that uncontrollable urge to make something I could finish quickly. This simple little quilt was made using some simple string piecing with strategic planning to create a stained glass look. The block I used in this pattern can also be used to create many additional layouts as well, from zig-zags chevrons to stars.

And for the first part of your mid-week treat: I wrote a simple pattern for you all to go with it! Click here to download the pattern through Craftsy, and here to grab the pattern via Google Docs.

Stained Glass Strings - full frontal

I used some new-to-me fabrics for this project, Andover's new Textured Solids collection. I was curious about what they would be like after seeing them pop up online earlier this year, and the Andover folks were kind enough to send me some sample yardage to try out, and I have to say, I enjoyed working with these solids very much. They have a beautiful linen look to them, chock full of texture and visual interest, and yet piecing with them was very much like regular quilting cotton.

Trim, trim, trim!

The Textured Solids are a woven yarn-dyed solid, which provides the added texture. I love the added depth the texture gives, and the way it feels as well. The fabric drapes beautifully, and while still 100% cotton, it shrinks minimally, between 2-5%. There are 25 colors available now, and additional colors are in the pipline, as well as a metallic collection! You can find the Textured Solids in stock now at Fabricworm and Pink Castle Fabrics.

Textured Solids

And now for the best part about this mid-week treat - a lovely little giveaway from the wonderful people at Andover. Three lucky commenters will win a charm pack of Textured Solids to play with! This giveaway will be open until Sunday, September 29th at 11:59 p.m. EST, and I will share the winners on Monday. To enter, simply leave me a comment here about how many sewing/quilting projects you're in the middle of right now. To be fair, I'll last count, I've got a total of 17 projects that are somewhere between cut fabric and some level of piecing. Yikes! Many of them are UFO's that need rescue! Now it's your turn...good luck!

Stained Glass Strings - the FMQ

Quilt Stats
name: Stained Glass Strings Baby
size: 31" square
pattern: Stained Glass Strings free quilt pattern, download on Craftsy or Google
fabrics: Andover Textured Solids in White Lies, Magnum, Mandarin, Ripple, Rhubarb, and Haystack
quilting: free-motioned swirls in white (color #2024) 50 wt Aurifil thread
Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rain, rain, go away...

It's been a rainy start to the week in my neck of the woods. A soaker, really. Thankfully, it's nothing tropical, but steady, all-day rain is very un-Florida. Nothing but gray skies and the drip-drip-drip of raindrops, so it's been a sluggish start to the week for me. I need a good cup of coffee to get my juices flowing and get my week chugging along!

Trunk Show @ Sarasota MQG
me and my Less is More quilt, from Becoming a Confident Quilter
photo by Jodi Gustafson, SMQG

My trunk show at the Sarasota MQG
the line-up of quilts I brought to the trunk show
photo by Jodi Gustafson, SMQG

I had such a great time over the weekend at my trunk show in Sarasota. Thank you so much for having me, Sarasota Modern Quilt Guild! It was a lot of fun to talk through a bunch of my quilts and share them with other sewists.

Minion eye!

In my sewing room, I'm making good progress on my little minion quilt - I've got the bulk of the patchwork for the center sewn together now, just need to start adding the outer white borders, then the pixelated border. If only I could decide on what color(s) to use for the pixelated border. :) I did manage to cut up all the white squares, just need to start sewing them together. I think that's in the forecast for today, after I venture out to the grocery store in today's rain. Here's hoping I don't manage to get stuck in a downpour! And I absolutely must remember to put a new cone of Aurifil on the machine today, too! I think I've got mere inches left to spare. Have a great Tuesday!

Nearing the end of the line!
Friday, September 20, 2013

Introducing the Confetti Stars quilt pattern

Confetti Stars - pattern cover

Happy Friday to you! It's a good day today, I've got a great new quilt pattern to share, and it's been a long time coming! I'm super excited to add this quilt pattern to my Pattern Shop, one of the longest ones I've ever put together - Confetti Stars!

Confetti Stars - finished!

Confetti Stars is a great foundation paper pieced pattern, but this pattern is extra special. There are two completely different looks you can create with this pattern - modern, with loads of negative space, and traditional, with a more block-based approach. Both variations feature two different sized Confetti Stars, to create lots of movement throughout your finished quilt top.

Confetti Stars - lap size modern layout
lap size with modern layout

The 11-page pattern is chock full of photographs and diagrams to help you make this quilt - even if you've never paper pieced before! If you're an experienced paper piecer, you'll still have a lot of fun with this quilt, plotting out your own take on this quilt.

Confetti Stars - Queen Sized Traditional layout
queen size with traditional layout

I was lucky enough to have some fantastic quilt testers run through this pattern, and I'm so thrilled with the beautiful quilts they made. Here they are:

Amy from International Stashes
Amy made a really fun baby quilt, using the traditional layout in the pattern, with a fun polka-dot fabric for her background. I love the whimsy a good polka dot adds to a quilt!

Confetti Stars baby traditional layout made by Amy Martin

Sarah of Stitching and Bacon
Sarah made a great baby quilt in the traditional layout, using varied low-volume prints for her background fabric. I really enjoy the extra depth the variation adds to the quilt. Great choice, Sarah!

Confetti Stars baby traditional layout made by Sarah Lowry

Tracey of Quilting in the Pacfiic Northwest
Tracey made a beautiful quilt using a twist on a modern layout in shades of blue, making her own unique take on the quilt. I just love the way her stars sparkle. Can't wait to see this one all quilted up!

Confetti Stars modern layout twist made by Tracey Peterson

Thank you all so much!

For the next week, you can pick up this pattern for a complete steal at $6.00! This pattern will go up to its regular price of $9.00 next Friday. This PDF pattern is available in my Pattern Shop and on Craftsy as well. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Happy stitching to you this weekend :)

Confetti Stars - detail
Thursday, September 19, 2013

Packing up the trunk

Are you in the Sarasota area? I'm going to be heading down there this weekend to do a trunk show at the Sarasota MQG's monthly meeting, and I'd love to see you there! I'll also be bringing some books with me for a little mini-signing, so if you haven't picked up a copy, Saturday's a great time to do that! The meeting is at 1pm on Saturday, at the Fruitville branch of the Sarasota County Library System, at 100 Coburn Rd, Sarasota, FL 34240.

I'll be sharing some of the quilts from my new book, Becoming a Confident Quilter, as well as some old favorites and the stories behind them.

Trunk Show this weekend - figuring out what to pack...

And if you're not in the Sarasota area, never fear, my teaching calendar is growing and expanding over the next several months, and I bet I might just be speaking at a quilt shop or guild near you! Have a great day :)
Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Two finishes for the price of one!

I spent a bit of time the last few days finishing up two little mini-quilts I've had in the works for the last week or so. The first one I'll be giving away at my schoolhouse in Houston next month. I really love how this quilt turned out, and in honor of its larger sibling quilt in my book, Polaris, I'm calling it Polaris Junior.

Polaris Jr - Full frontal

I'm really digging the way the low-volume background prints, all pulled from my stash, work together to create additional dimension and movement throughout the background of the quilt. I need to make one more of these for an upcoming class sample in the near future, and I might just make an exact duplicate for once because I so love how this one turned out!

Polaris Jr - Binding close up

The quilting is very simple, in a white 50 wt Aurifil thread, in an orange peel all-over design. I love doing that kind of quilting with grid-based quilts like this. I think for the next one, I might try my hand at some simple wavy stitches, see how that goes.

Polaris Jr - Side view

The second quilt I finished up is for my partner in the Sew Sew Modern swap. It's a mini using three of my Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club blocks, and one that didn't make the cut (that might just be a part of next year's block of the month club!). My partner's favorite colors weren't colors that I usually like to use in my sewing, so it was a challenge for me to really try to put something together that she'll love, but I'm hoping I've done it.

Sew Sew Modern Swap Mini - full shot

Quilting this mini was a challenge - I was terribly indecisive about how to stitch, so I went with an all-over basic stipple. It may be boring, but it's my go-to stitch when I get stumped. I like how this quilt finished up, especially the binding, which is another Briar Rose print I picked up and wound up not really using much of in the mini. I also sewed up a little pleated zippered clutch for her and got the package in the mail yesterday.

In the mail to you, partner! A little mini and a pouch

Quilt Stats
name: Polaris Junior
pattern: Polaris, from my new book, Becoming a Confident Quilter (in stock at my Pattern Shop!!)
size: 24" square
fabrics: Scrap bag bonanza! Boatloads of scraps from my scrap bin
binding: The Road in Mist from Road 15 by Sweetwater for Moda
quilting: Orange peel continuous line stitching in white 50 wt Aurifil

Sew Sew Modern Swap Mini - binding detail

Quilt Stats part two
name: SewSew Modern Swap Mini
pattern: Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club blocks
size: 24" square
fabrics: several prints from Briar Rose by Heather Ross for Windham Fabrics, Lime green leafy stripe from Simply Color by V and Co for Moda Fabrics, yellow Hex Box from Prince Charming by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics, dark pink floral from Darla by Tanya Whelan, background faux tweed fabric from Mod Century by Jenn Ski for Moda Fabrics
quilting: All-over meandering stipple in white 50 wt Aurifil thread
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Book Day!

If you follow me on Instagram or on Facebook, you probably know that I received a super awesome box yesterday - a box of books!!! I squealed at the UPS man as he handed the heavy box to me, and I'm sure he probably thought I was crazy, but I don't care a bit. I was so excited!

Yay for a big fat book box!!!

So, I can now say that my book is officially in stock in my Pattern Shop at the moment. If you pre-ordered, your book will be on its way to you today!

Holy cow, that's stacks of my book!

And because it was Happy Book Day, I couldn't resist making an old family favorite cake to celebrate - Brown Beauty Cake. It's a recipe that's been in my family for as long as I can remember. It's the cake that I had for my birthdays growing up, for any celebration, really, and often just because. I don't eat cake the way I used to anymore, so I debated whether or not I'd even bake a cake yesterday, but ultimately, I wanted to celebrate, so I went for it. Sometimes it's okay to indulge, right? :)

Happy Book Day cake!

Here's the recipe, in case you're so inclined to do a little celebrating of your own:

Brown Beauty Cake

Brown Beauty Cake
makes one 9" square cake

1/2 cup boiling water
2 squares unsweetened chocolate (I like Baker's)
1 cup cake flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup softened butter
1 egg
1/4 buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Pour hot water over chopped up chocolate and stir until fully melted. Set mixture aside to cool slightly. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x9 square baking pan.
2. Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a separate bowl. Add cooled chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add in butter and mix well. Beat for one minute.
3. Add egg, buttermilk, and vanilla and beat for one minute.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted, and just a dense crumb or two sticks to the toothpick.

1/2 stick softened butter
Powdered sugar
Milk or 1/2 and 1/2

Mix softened butter with powdered sugar, to taste - I usually use around 2 cups. Add approximately 1-2 tsp of vanilla, 1 Tbsp of milk or 1/2 and 1/2, and a shake or two of salt. Frost cake after it has fully cooled, and enjoy!
Monday, September 16, 2013

A happy dance in my sewing room

My weekend consisted of loads of errands and chores, but I carved out a bit of sewing time for myself, too. I managed to finally cut into the towering stack of fabric I pulled together for my munchkin's minion quilt.

Squares for pixel piecing

A zillion and twelve 2.5" squares later, I started playing around with the layout on my design wall, and I'm in love. This project is so much fun to work on. I found myself wanting to do a little happy dance when it suddenly stopped looking like a bunch of squares and started looking like a minion.

A minion coming together!

Now I just have to start sewing these rows together and keep the munchkin out of my sewing room in the meantime. Wish me luck! Happy Monday to you :)
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Chain + Link quilt - featured in Quilty Sept/Oct 2013 issue

I'm excited to share another quilty finish, Chain + Link, featuring V & Co's gorgeous Simply Style fabrics. This quilt and pattern are featured in the September/October 2013 issue of Quilty magazine, available now. You can find copies at your local craft and quilt shops, as well as at Fat Quarter Shop and Quilty.

My Chain + Link pattern in the Sept/Oct issue of Quilty

This one-block quilt was inspired by some tilework I spotted last year and drew in my sketchbook. Once I paired it with Vanessa's gorgeous prints, it was exactly the quilt I hoped it would be. Vanessa seriously has a gift for creating great stash building fabrics that look great when used together, and look awesome when mixed with other collections as well.

Chain + Link quilt - front view

I love the way the blocks interact with each other and come together. This quilt is probably the closest I've ever come to making an optical illusion! I love it!

Chain + Link Close Up - The Way the Blocks Come Together

I quilted it with 50 wt white Aurifil thread color number 2024, my personal favorite. I had thought about doing some thread matching and specialized quilting, but in the end, I didn't have the colors I needed, and I decided that I wanted more of an all-over design, so I stuck with good old white. I stitched a simple orange peel design on the quilt top, which really works nicely with the patchwork in this quilt, I think.

Chain + Link quilt - side view

And if you'd like to make this exact quilt, you can pick up a quilt kit with the magazine as well as all the fabrics you'll need to sew up the top at Fons & Porter's online shop. The kit is on backorder at the moment, but is expected to be in stock soon. You can find Simply Style fabrics in stock at The Intrepid Thread, I Don't Do Dishes, and Stash Modern Fabrics.

Quilty magazine - Sept/Oct 2013 issue

Quilt Stats
name: Chain + Link
size: 63" x 78 1/2"
pattern: Chain + Link, in the September/October 2013 issue of Quilty magazine
fabrics: Simply Style by V & Co for Moda Fabrics
quilting: all-over orange peel quilting, with white 50 wt Aurifil thread
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Guest posting today at Stitch This!

Good morning and happy Tuesday to you! This morning, you'll find me guest posting and sharing loads of pictures (which are totally pin-able, hint hint!) from my new book, Becoming a Confident Quilter at Martingale's blog, Stitch This. I'm also sharing the story behind my first experience with foundation paper piecing, as well as the story behind the foundation paper pieced quilt in my book, Wham. Pop on over and check it out - you could win a copy of my book!

Wham quilt - from Becoming a Confident Quilter, my book
from Becoming a Confident Quilter
photo courtesy of Martingale & Co
Monday, September 9, 2013

Sewing my way to Quilt Market

Quilt Market is coming up again in just over a month, and I'm going to be doing a schoolhouse and book signing during my stay in Houston. Eek! I'm both excited and frightened by the prospect of this. First off, can I actually talk for 30 minutes coherently about my book? I hope so. I need to write myself some talking points to keep me from veering off-topic and spending 22 minutes talking about my love for Denyse Schmidt's fabrics or something related and oh-so-not-related all at the same time. Secondly, I'm going to need to work on practicing my signature. Seriously! I have the signature of a seventeen year old boy who's going to grow up to be a doctor - sloppy, mostly illegible and not at all what you would call pretty.

Polaris mini in progress

Now thirdly, I have something to finish preparing that's way more fun for Market, and pretty, too - a mini-quilt that I plan to give away to one lucky attendee of my schoolhouse! I had a terrible time trying to decide which quilt I wanted to do in a mini, and after a ton of deliberation, I decided I wanted to do Polaris, a really fun, scrappy Ohio star quilt that focuses on teaching sewing quarter-square triangle units and making them as easy as possible.

Polaris quilt from my new book - Becoming a Confident Quilter
Polaris quilt from my book, Becoming a Confident Quilter
photo courtesy of Martingale & Co

For my mini, I made four blocks, so it came together quite quickly over the weekend. I started with a color palette that I was really digging, pulled some scraps and fat quarters based on it, and got to pressing and cutting. It felt good to just have some fun with fabric and some good tunes.

A little bit of scrappy fun

The best part was that I had good company while I was digging through my scraps - my munchkin loves to play in my scrap bins, and put random combinations up on my design wall. Yesterday he actually wanted to mimic what I was piecing, which was fun. He kept asking me to cut more triangles for him so he could create new patterns. I loved the way he kept trying to sing along with the songs on my playlist, that was adorable.

Polaris mini

I'm definitely planning to sew up some more minis, pillows, and quilts from my book soon, and I cannot believe that it starts shipping tomorrow. I'm hoping to get my first box of books soon so I can fulfill the pre-orders that many of you placed at my Pattern Shop. If you still want to pre-order a copy, you can do so right here or at Amazon - or you can pick up the latest issue of Quilt Sampler and take the $10 Martingale rebate form found inside on page 121 to your local quilt shop to pick up my book and get a great deal at the same time!

Stay tuned tomorrow for more book pictures, I'm so excited to finally be sharing them! Have a great day today :)
Friday, September 6, 2013

Reunited...and it feels so good!

Oh, how I've missed sewing these last few weeks! I've been doing some part-time work at home that I'm enjoying immensely, but I sure have missed the hum of my Juki. This week, things have calmed down a bit with work, and I feel like I'm starting to get into a solid groove at last, with the munchkin off at kindergarten for most of the day. Just the other day, I found myself with a bunch of unscheduled moments where I could just sew. It was absolutely wonderful :)

Paper piecing makes me happy :)

I've been waffling about what to sew up for my partner in the Sew Sew Modern swap for the last few weeks. I think our tastes are quite different, and that's part of why I've been so unsure what to sew for her that she'd appreciate, but I finally got a great idea last week - to make her a Lucky Stars mini quilt, in the colors and fabrics that she would love. They might not be the fabrics I would pick to make one for myself, but to each his own, right? I'm really liking how this is coming together, and I hope she's going to love it too!

SewSew Modern mini quilt top - just need to quilt it!

In other news, I'm being featured over at Gable House & Co today, for a fun interview - pop on over to check it out! Happy Friday, I hope you have a great weekend!
Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Gradation quilt: in the new issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited

I love getting quilty magazines in the mail. This week I received a copy of the new summer issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited in the mail. I love that magazine! The photography is always so stunning, and I always feel inspired as I flip through the pages. I set the magazine in the car to enjoy during my wait in the kindergarten car line, only to be surprised when I saw one of my own quilts in it! I can't believe I forgot about this quilt!

Gradation - full shot

Gradation is a quilt that I sketched and sewed up quite a long while ago - back in February of this year, right before my son's birthday, to be exact. I wanted to play with color and values and try to create some repeating geometric patterns while sticking with simple piecing. There's nothing more complicated than a half-square triangle in this quilt in terms of piecing!

Gradation - in Modern Quilts Unlimited

This is the quilt I was working on earlier this year when my Viking started acting up on me, with weird stitches and such. This quilt was the first I really sewed up with my Juki, and it's when I fell fully in love with piecing on my her, so it's got a special place in my heart as a result.

Phew, one deadline project nearly done

The fabrics in the quilt are a wide assortment of Art Gallery Fabrics in shades of pink and blue - from Oval Elements, Nature Elements, Splendour 1920, Lilly Belle, Luxe in Bloom, Lace Elements, Modernology, Floressence, Carnaby Street, and Rhapsodia. You can find lots of these prints still in stock at Intrepid Thread and Hawthorne Threads.

Gradation - in Modern Quilts Unlimited

Quilt Stats
name: Gradation
size: 48" x 60"
pattern: Gradation by yours truly in the summer 2013 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited
fabrics: from Oval Elements, Nature Elements, Splendour 1920, Lilly Belle, Luxe in Bloom, Lace Elements, Modernology, Floressence, Carnaby Street, and Rhapsodia
quilting: back-and-forth wiggle FMQ in white 50 wt Aurifil
binding: Art Gallery Nature Elements in gray

Gradation - detail

And I'm super excited to share that the wonderful Lynne of Lily's Quilts has written my first official book review, which has me positively tickled! Pop on over to her blog to see it! Have a great day :)

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
The Epic Sampler BOM Club kicks off Oct 1st
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