Friday, November 29, 2013

Penny Patch: Hello, Quilt Top!

This post is part of a series {Penny Patch} a Beginner’s Quilt-Along.  You can join in anytime, even if you’re not a beginner!  Please see this page for links to all posts, and join us on Flickr to share your questions and work-in-progress!

Penny Patch buttonOk, it's time.... a very merry time... quilt top time!  Let's see those finished quilt tops!  But, actually, you are quite welcome to participate in today's link party wherever you are in the process.  We're just glad you're in on it too!  It's such fun to see all the different versions.  If you don't get your fill here, see our Flickr group which is bursting with Penny Patch quilt top finishes!

psst... need some help using the link tool?  See this tutorial.

Serious Sales

In America, the Thanksgiving holiday is closely followed (or rather immediately followed!) by one fantastic shopping weekend. Beginning on Friday morning, most shops have pretty awesome sales.  Sooo... this is the time to get your fabric, people.   Go shop in your bunny slippers:

At Canton Village Quilt Works select categories are on sale through Dec 2nd.  Get Kona Cotton at just $5.90 per yard and all Precuts are 20% off using code 20thank at checkout!

Intrepid Thread has 30% off storewide for 24 hours only.  Gift cards are available too!  Ends midnight Friday the 29th. San Francisco locals can stop in on Monday for the in-store sale!

Lark Cottons has 25% off storewide with code logcabin13 through Dec 4th. Code is case sensitive and gets entered on the shopping cart page.


At Cuts of Cotton get 20% off Dotten OvalsSun Print FeathersSun Print Party StreamerMinimalista and Kona Solids.  Use discount code thanks at checkout through Dec 2nd. Also checkout all the markdowns in the sale section!

Canadian shop, Mad About Patchwork, is in on the fun with 20% off all Rowan Fabrics with the coupon HOLIDAY20 through Christmas Eve. That includes Shot Cottons, Woven Stripes, Amy Butler, Kaffe Fasset and more.


Sew Modern has 20% off all regular priced fabric with coupon BLACKISBEAUTIFUL through December 1st.  Checkout the sale section for markdowns up to 60% off!


Find some amazing deals at Connecting Threads, where select kits, samplers and bulk-cut fabrics are 40-60% off through December 3rd.  Supplies are limited!


Visit Marmalade Fabrics for 20% off Sketch Basics by Timeless Treasures, 30% off Anna Maria Horner's Hand Drawn Garden and 40% off Glimma by Lotta Jansdotter.


At Sew Love Fabrics get 20% off storewide through December 2nd.  Oh my, she still has Anna Maria Horner linen!


On Friday only, Canadian store Fabric Spot is offering a 10% off Storewide with code 10FRIDAY.


Southern Fabrics has 20% off storewide with code sf20off through Dec 2nd, plus gift-with-purchase and markdowns ranging from 20% off to 50% off in their sale section.


Everything at Fat Quarter Shop is 25% off through Nov 30th.  Offer excludes clubs, programs and gift card purchases.

There's a lot going on at Pink Chalk Fabrics$2.99 shipping on any order.  Free pattern with purchase. 25% off Precuts and apron patterns, plus other discounts.  Now through Dec 2nd!

Ok, I've got a few shopping carts open now.  Best get to work narrowing this down.  Happy Stashing, friends!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

introducing Color Intensive

Color has been with me for a long time.  I remember, as a child, my mother asking for my thoughts on the colors in her commissioned floral arrangements.  Oh, how my heart swelled with confidence then!  In my college years working in retail I loved merchandising the clothing.  One really sweet boss tasked me with reorganizing our whole boutique before the holiday season.  Loved. every. minute. 

Color Intensive coming soon!

Nowadays combining colors and choosing fabrics is still my favorite part of my job.  When my "do" list includes choosing fabrics for a new quilt, it's like saying that it is my responsibility to eat chocolate chip cookies.  Not going to argue with that!  And how did I get this lucky?  Fortunately, fabric is fat-free.

When I talk to you all about what you'd like to learn next, color always, always comes up.  You want help working with color.  You want tools for being expressive and fresh.  You want confidence.  And, most of all, you need this to apply to fabric.  Not paint, not graphic design.... fabric

If you love to sew, choosing fabrics should feed that passion; never, never stall it.

I heart color

I guess I've been thinking about teaching a color class for over a year now.  Thinking, but facing many roadblocks.  I've seen it done kind of poorly.  I've seen it be so surface and theoretical and clinical - head knowledge mostly.  But now I'm super, super excited because it's all coming together, and I see how much its wanted, and I'm already anticipating watching your colors come out, come alive!

fabric color wheel 

This week I started sewing some projects for Color Intensive, my next online class.  The 5-week course will open for registration mid-January, with a start date of February 3rd.  It's definitely going to be different than my other classes, more of a toolkit and experience than a big bunch of work on your part.  But it will be challenging too.  Can't be too easy on you (wink).  

Color Theory when I was 18...

So last weekend I was telling Brandon all about my Color Intensive class on a road trip to Ikea, and he reminded me that I took a color theory course at fashion college.  He said, "Maybe it's instinctual for you now, but you started somewhere.  You loved that class and probably gained more from it than you realized at the time."  Oh, yeah.  I had forgotten!  Today I've dusted off my college textbook and pulled out some class projects.  I had to mix paints from primaries to make that umbrella color wheel.  It was my favorite project.

my first quilts, lol

But take a look at this warm/cool colors assignment.  Um, these must be quilts?  (Please excuse the teddy bears.)  I have no idea what gave me the idea to do paper patchwork as no one in my family or circle of friends made quilts at all.  But, well... I did get 100% on the project.  Too bad it was 10 years later (!!!) that I thought to actually make a quilt.  Hindsight is so 20-20.

I do find color instinctual and want that for you too.  Expect to see more tidbits about this class surface as we close out the year, with the big reveal scheduled for registration day on January 13th.  I hope your interest is piqued for Color Intensive!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dowry + True Colors

Today it has been and will be raining all. day. long.  But inside, happy things are making.

Dowry + True Colors by Anna Maria Horner

Tada!  This serendipitous combo has my heart beating fast.  The fabrics combine that great bouquet from Anna Maria Horner's new Dowry collection with her True Colors Sealing Wax print in peridot green.  I adore that vintage green lace ribbon which has been kicking around in my drawer and am surprised how perfectly Anna Maria's feather ribbon ties things together with Essex in Natural in the background.  (Yes, I will be sewing this with 1/2" seams!)

Sorry, just a little bit thrilled.

for my next class!

Meanwhile I am sewing up this version.  These fabrics are all Dowry, with Essex red yarn-dyed linen.  Oh, and both of these works-in-progress are for my next class.   More details tomorrow....

Dowry Flourish Cherry

As you can see, Dowry and True Colors have arrived in my sewing space!  I actually requested some pieces from the kind folks at Freespirit, who graciously agreed to send some my way in exchange for my sharing in this space.   Which of course I will do.  Happily!

This print, called Flourish in Cherry, is so far my favorite Dowry cut.  The colors are gorgeously rich and the design is pretty even cut up.  I'd like to add the blue/green version to my stash soon.

Dowry Cracking Codes

I requested all three of this print, called Cracking Codes, figuring it would be the most versatile.  After having seen the collection in person, I'm actually more drawn to many of the other prints more.  The scale and colors in Anna Maria's collection this time is definitely hitting a chord with me this time.  I think I'd use many of them over and over again.  Even that Dowry Tangle Aquatic in the background above, which I figured would be kind of limiting, is actually one I know I'll use.  It's a nice scale with lots of negative space. 

Dowry mixed w/True Colors

In the True Colors prints, my favorite patterns are Sealing Wax (must get them all!) and this zigzag print called Going Up.  Look how gorgeously these two pieces coordinate with Dowry!

that Cathedrals shade from Anna Maria Horner!

But my favorite discovery is that Anna Maria has finally brought back that perfect rich sapphire blue from her wildly popular Good Folks collection in these two True Colors prints.  Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!  I definitely need to stock up on these beauties!

You can find Dowry at these stores:  Marmalade, Pink Chalk, Sew Modern, Fabricworm, Sew Love Fabrics, and in Canada at Mad About Patchwork

Anna Maria Horner's True Colors collection is at:  Marmalade, Fabricworm, and Intrepid Thread

Monday, November 25, 2013

High Voltage

Happy Monday!  Do you know, I really do like Mondays?  It's something about being home, getting back to the routine (even if it is laundry day), spending one-on-one time with my kids.  It's the regular days that add up to a truly full life, and I do so like Mondays.  I hope your day is a good one too!

fabric play

So, let's do a new quilt!  This one is for my childhood best buddy, who's third baby is due in the new year.  She's having another boy, so we're bringing out the blue and green again.  This time, I get to add yellow.  Yay.  (Yes, that was irony and I make no secret of wanting PINK.)

the poor froggies!

As usual I'm sewing completely from stash.  Look at this Ed Emberley froggie print just begging to be used!  Those frogs may be frowning at my rotary cutting, but there's worse coming, much worse...

Voltage baby quilt

High voltage!  Admittedly it felt a bit wrong to fry the frogs, but since they are frowning...  Well, it couldn't be helped. 

I'm going to be adding more Ed Emberley prints to this quilt too.  He has such great boy-friendly stuff.  Check out Fresh Modern Fabrics, Sew Modern and Fabric Spot in Canada for very cool Ed Emberley fabrics.
Catch you tomorrow!

Friday, November 22, 2013

busy bee

Isn't November one of the best months?  In South Carolina, the forest if soooo full of color right now and weather can be kind.  Today we had a picnic lunch in 70 degree sunshine!  Unfortunately, November is not here to stay, so I buckled down to do bee blocks this week.

Love circle bee blocks

Deb of Love circle called for wonky flying geese in strip blocks.  Purple and teal seem to be a popular palette lately.

for do. Good Stitches

One thing I enjoy about bee blocks is that I can typically come up with enough scraps to make 2 without using any stash fabrics.  This block used lots of strips, a scrap type that I rarely use.  Win!

Grace circle bee blocks

I also made this set of Stars Align blocks for the Grace circle this month.  It was my chance to help a friend out.  These blocks take some time, but gorgeously mirror that wintery mood for those ready to embrace snow and ice and all that.

for do. Good Stitches

I haven't often reached for the black print (Chicopee Ladder Dot) I used in this block, but I love the way the "holes" show up here and there when used as sashing!  This fabric I did pull from stash, but it was worth it.

Ok, now that I've taken care of those do. Good Stitches blocks, there's really no reason why I shouldn't start a new quilt...right?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Penny Patch: Sew & Assemble Blocks!

This post is part of a series {Penny Patch} a Beginner’s Quilt-Along.  You can join in anytime, even if you’re not a beginner!  Please see this page for links to all posts, and join us on Flickr to share your questions and work-in-progress!

Penny Patch buttonGreetings, Penny Patchers!  This week we finish up those blocks.   Since by the looks of our Flickr group, so many of you are already finished with blocks, I decided to post the quilt top assembly directions today too. After today's post, our next quilt-along post is the quilt top link party on November 29th.  I love seeing the top come together!!!  Definitely the best part.

So, let's review.  You've been making 4-Penny Patch blocks a la this tutorial.  The number of blocks needed depends on what size quilt you're making.  Here's the stats from the quilt design post:

If you're making the Baby Quilt, your quilt will have 7 columns and 9 rows, a 7 x 9 setting requiring 63 blocks.   31 of those blocks will be simple squares and 32 of those blocks will be 4-penny patches.  The first row should start with a 4-penny patch.

If you're making the Throw Quilt, your quilt will have 10 columns and 12 rows, a 10 x 12 setting requiring 120 blocks, 60 of each kind (simple squares and 4-penny patches). 

If you're making the Twin Quilt, your quilt will have 11 columns and 15 rows, a 11 x 15 setting requiring 165 blocks.   83 of those blocks will be simple squares and 84 of those blocks will be 4-penny patches.  The first row should start with a 4-penny patch.

3 flavors of Purple

When I make my 4-Penny Patch blocks, I prefer to make all my blocks in the same formation, with the tiny 4-patches in the upper right and lower left quadrants.  When the quilt is assembled all the little squares will line up to form one long diagonal string.

Assemble Blocks


Step 1:  Arrange Quilt

Find a big space on the floor or use a design wall (batting tacked to the wall works temporarily!) to lay out your entire quilt.  Alternate between simple squares and 4-penny patches.  Remember if you're making a baby or twin sized quilt, your first block in the first row must be a 4-penny patch.  The next row would start with a simple square blocks, so that the 2 different styles of blocks are laid out in a checkerboard arrangement.

Specific block placement is up to you!  There is no right or wrong here.  There is just what looks good to you.  I tend to move blocks around a lot, playing musical blocks until things feel balanced.  Watch especially that your darker colors and/or "pop" colors are evenly spread out in the quilt.  And, try to avoid allowing same-colors to fall into straight line formations.  Scatter, scatter!  Live with it for a day or an hour (whatever is realistic).  Seeing your layout with fresh eyes can really help!!!

Step 2:  Stack Rows


When you're satisfied with block placement, it's time to stack and pick up your quilt.  First place a bit of masking tape on the far-right block in each row.  Number the rows by writing on the masking tape. 


Now, working one row at a time, pick up the far-right labeled block and place it on the next block over to the left.  Pick up the stack again and place it on the next block over just as before.  Continue stacking up row 1, moving left and always keeping the labeled block on top.  After stacking the entire row, place a pin at the right side of the stacked raw edges.  This pin holds your stack together and also marks the side of the stack.  Even if your masking tape label falls off, you'll have a clue as to how to lay out these blocks!


This is a good stopping point if you don't have time to assemble today.  Mmm..  pretty, pretty stacks!

Step 3:  Join Blocks as Rows

Ready to sew?  Ok, start with row 1 (I had already finished row 1, so I'm on row 2).  Pick up the top 2 blocks.  Lay them on your sewing table with block 1 (the labeled block) on the right and block 2 on the left.


Flip block 1 on top of block 2, with right sides together.  Match of the raw edge on the right - that's where you're going to sew.


Sew blocks together with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Don't cut threads after sewing.   Just leave them be at the machine.  Now, in the same way, pick up the next 2 blocks in your row stack.  Lay them out as before with block 3 on the right and block 4 on the left.


Sew blocks 3 + 4 with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Since you didn't cut threads, you can chain piece.   You'll sew through "nothing" for a little bit until blocks 3 + 4 go under the presser foot.  A little string of thread will connect your block pairs.


Now pick up your next 2 blocks and repeat.  Keep sewing pairs until only one or zero blocks remain.  Do not bother pressing any seams yet.  For efficiency, press seams only after the entire row is joined.


At this point you may choose to cut threads and separate your chained block pairs.  If you do, you will need to lay out the pairs in order so that you are ready to sew the next seams.  If you are doing the baby quilt, this is what you'll have:


Match raw edges and sew, joining all block pairs and joining longer sets until the row is complete.

If you do not choose to cut all threads and lay out all block pairs, you can free just 2 sets of block pairs at a time and sew them together.  Then free 2 more and repeat.  When I'm joining long rows, I prefer this option to prevent confusion!

Step 4:  Join Rows as Quilt Top

Since your right-most blocks are still labeled, your rows are labeled too!  You can assemble rows as you complete them, or wait until all rows are ready at once.  When the time is right, lay out row 1 above row 2.


Flip row 2 on top of row 1, with right sides together.  Match the seams at each 6" block and place a pin to stabilize.  Then, join rows with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Sew right up to the pin, removing the pin just before each block seam.  If you have a walking foot, using it while joining rows can help them come together more evenly without bunching or miss-matched edges.


Join all rows as pairs, then join row pairs in the same way.


Remember to use pins to match seams!  Use more pins if you need to "ease" extra fabric in any spots.


Rejoice!  I hope your quilt top will be ready for the November 29th link party!  Can't wait to see all the pretty Pennies!!!
Penny Patch Quilt-along!
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