Wednesday, November 30, 2016

finished Cranberry Tart

Thank you all for the birth congratulations!  Our first week has been lovely.  It's much like having a first baby all over again, so filled with wonder it is, but lots easier since I have experience to draw upon.  She is absolutely delighting us all!  If you'd like to see more pictures, I'm sure I'll be dropping them into my Instagram feed from time to time.

Cranberry Tart quilt

Meanwhile, the quilts go on!  This quilt recently arrived back from Emily of Emerson Quilting.  After she worked her longarm quilting magic, all I had to do was put on the binding!

Cranberry Tart quilt

It's fun to see how the colors of this quilt really do speak to the season.  Here in the south November is our autumnal climax.  Everything is yellow, orange and red outside, mixed with evergreen.  The trees are pure drama, as is this quilt - elegant and showy, like its namesake: cranberry tart!

 Cranberry Tart quilt

Didn't Emily do fabulously with the custom quilting?  I just told her I was thinking straight lines that emphasize different parts of the patchwork pattern.  She took it from there!  I admire how the straight lines in the yellow, orange and red sections have contrasting widths.   Such great texture.  And although I hadn't thought about incorporating swirls, when I got this back I agreed they are the perfect royal flourishes on the plum fabrics.  It makes it feel all the more elegant and showy.

Cranberry Tart quilt

My backing is pieced together from yardage on hand, as per usual, in colors that match the quilt top.  It's my favorite way to create fabric turnover, haha.  A good thing since I did indulge in some weekend shopping...  Those sales were too good to resist, right?

Cranberry Tart quilt

The quilting makes the back!

Cranberry Tart quilt

She's bound in a lovely textured fabric from the Loominous II collection.  It has running stitch stripes of yellow and pink.  Stripes make the best bindings!

I've listed Cranberry Tart today in my Etsy shop as well as a hefty stack of Loominous II fabrics at a bargain price, leftover from making this quilt.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Special Sales Bulletin!

In America, the Thanksgiving holiday is closely followed by one fantastic shopping season. Cyber Monday (November 28) is your last day to take advantage of some pretty awesome sales.  Sooo... this is the time to get your fabric, people!   Go shop in your bunny slippers:

Intrepid Thread has 20% - 70% off everything in the shop including 50% off all Patterns, Books, and Notions.


The Loopy Ewe is offering 20% off all Loopy Short Stacks and all precuts.


Find some amazing deals at Bobbie Lou's, where you'll score 20% off the entire shop, including sale items.  Use code SweetPotato20!

STUDIO 39 button
At Studio 39 save 30% off regular-priced items through end of day Tuesday, November 29th.  Ships from Canada!


Enjoy free domestic shipping on handmade Shibori fabrics in stock now at Cape Cod Shibori. Use code CyberMon16 only on Monday!


Canadian shop, Mad About Patchwork, is in on the fun with 10-20% off orders through Monday!


At Lark Cottons, save 25% storewide with discount code "thankful" entered on the shopping cart page through Tuesday.  Plus, save an additional 5% on fabric from Denyse Schmidt and Heather Bailey; and 10% on Lotta Jansdotter, Basic Grey, Patty Sloniger, and Rosemarie Lavin.

Shabby Fabrics has a number of Cyber Monday deals:


Maigo offers 20% off all orders - Japanese and organic fabrics, washi tapes, linen ribbons, towels and socks designed by zakka artist Shinzi Katoh, and more!  Use promo code CYBER20 at checkout through Monday, midnight EST.

It's a great time to round out your helpful fabrics or indulge in something that inspires you. 
Happy Stashing and gifting, friends!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Elora Faye

Thanks for your patience, friends!  And for your prayers and for your always-so-thoughtful comments and encouragement. 

Yes, she's here!  And she's home.

Elora Faye newborn

Elora Faye Hauser was birthed at 11:55 pm on the 22nd.  She came into the world making some beautiful noises and breathing perfectly on her own.  For the first time I was able to enjoy that amazing alert newborn stage just after birth with no concerns for my baby or my own well being.  There are no words to say how grateful we are for her health.

 Elora Faye newborn

After 10 hours of induced labor, I was able to birth her naturally at our preferred hospital, MUSC.  There was only one part, when we heard a woman sobbing on the labor/delivery floor, that brought back painful memories of Eleni's birth.  Otherwise I was so focused, first on getting into a strong labor pattern and then on making it through when things heated up, that I wasn't scared.  Though, much of that is due to the angel of a midwife who has been handling my care for the past few months under the supervision of the maternal fetal medicine team at MUSC. 

After my history, I didn't think I wanted to work with a midwife, but Gretchen was just exactly what I needed.  She understood both sides - how we wanted to use all the testing and expertise of medicine to be 100% safe and that we wanted to pursue a natural, vaginal birth for an optimal outcome if it was medically indicated.  Both prenatally and at the birth itself, Gretchen had an uncanny sense of the words and information I needed to be empowered to navigate birth again.  My mother and I tried to hide our happy tears when Gretchen told us she has rearranged her schedule to be at my induction.  She stayed hours past her shift to be there for Elora's delivery, which just means so much.  Trust is so key for childbirth.  And sometimes, trusting the right person is everything.

By the way, I tried something new in this labor - nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas in a 50/50 concentration with oxygen) for pain relief.  My readers in Canada, Europe and Australia may be surprised to hear that nitrous oxide has been essentially unavailable in the US since the advent of the epidural.  It's making a comeback in 100's of leading US hospitals since it is a safe and affordable way of managing pain and anxiety in childbirth.  Nitrous oxide has a long history of use during labor worldwide with no known negative effects on baby and minimal-to-zero side effects on mom.  If you don't usually consider any drugs during childbirth, you may want to look into the safety and availability of this one.  I would use it again!

Elora Faye newborn

Ok, now, how about the baby?  We finally settled on Elora as a first name, in honor of her sister Eleni Laura.  It's very close to Eleni's first and middle name merged together, but different enough to our ears.  We usually choose a middle name to honor someone, so we had planned to use Eleni as a middle name, but as you know nothing came to us.  When we realized Elora as a first name would hold the same meaning, it was instantly our clear choice.  Faye is just pretty, and also Brandon's mother's middle name.  It's perfect!

Elora Faye newborn

Elora was born 7 pounds, 8 ounces and 19 3/4" long.  She had a slow start with breastfeeding, but has figured it out now.  Everything about her is amazing to me - the way her hands open, explore and grasp; her myriad facial expressions, so many pleasant; how she looks and looks around.  When brand new she was frequently gagging and struggling to swallow her spit up.  In just a few days she's progressed to manage that well, learned to latch and established a suck reflex, which was weak at birth.  So much in a few days!  All thanks to a healthy human brain.

Elora Faye newborn

We came home from the hospital on Thanksgiving evening and are enjoying our sleepy little one today.  Tomorrow we will celebrate Thanksgiving with extended family, all of us so very grateful this year for a precious new life.  And remembering Eleni always.  Always, always.

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Welcome, Westwood Acres!

I'm very excited today to welcome a popular shop to my family of sponsors!  Westwood Acres has made a name for itself by offering beautiful bundles of fabric purchased a la cart or in monthly fabric clubs.  With their focus on complete bundles, you can find new releases as well as complete sets of collections that might otherwise be hard to find.

Here are some newly arrived collections:

Magic by Sarah Jane.

Apple Farm by Elea Lutz

You can also shop discounted bundles at 15% off and 45% off, respectively.

When I ordered some low volume yardage this week to be used in my Aerial Grove quilt, I decided to also try a Westwood Acres fabric club bundle.  Winging my way is an Inside Voices fat quarter set!  I know I want to include more low volumes in my sewing, but I don't tend to gravitate towards them when I'm browsing.  If you're the same way, the Inside Voices club is a natural way to build up low volume variety in your stash.    Here are some other monthly fabric clubs at Westwood Acres:

You can keep abreast of Westwood Acres new additions via their blog A Crafty Fox, on instagram @westwood_acres, their newsletter or YouTube Channel.  But I'll let you in on a juicy secret just released to newsletter subscribers... Westwood Acres' biggest sale of the year is starting NOW!

Stock up on rotary blades, bolts of white, Gingher scissors and perfect stocking stuffers for quilters in your life!  Find them all HERE
Shop the Basics Sale

TODAY ONLY - 20% off ALL of In Stock, Hand Cut Bundles using the code GRATEFUL

20% off ALL Bundles - Shop Now

Free Gift When you Join a Monthly Fabric Club!

Subscribe to one of the monthly fabric clubs now through 11/26 and get a free, 5 piece bundle of Liberty Lawn or Inside Voices with your first club shipment! 
Join Inside Voices Now
Join Liberty Now
The 20% off all bundles deal ends at midnight tonight (the 21st), but each day this week will have its own deal.  Sign up with the Westwood Acres newsletter to get the scoop!  I hope you enjoy getting to know Westwood Acres.  Thanks, as always, for supporting my sponsors.   

I expect the next time we chat to be sharing a birth announcement!

Friday, November 18, 2016


Ever since Brandon chose that blue paint for our new bedroom, I can't resist the alluring idea of a new quilt for our bed.  A white quilt!

I know, I know, it's terribly impractical.  But, we already have practical gray curtains, a gray loveseat and gray rug.  Sure our gray duvet cover, which I made years ago, fits right in...but come on?  This is Stitched in COLOR.  I need a little variety in my life.  (My man, on the other hand, would prefer to cover our house in black, gray and wood.)

moving in

I wasn't sure what direction I'd go with this white quilt concept until I saw the paint on the walls.  The shade is slightly traditional and reminds me vaguely of Liberty of London fabrics.  It seems English, perhaps?  Not that I would know!

Now I can't make a quilt for our bed out of delightful English florals.  He would die.  But, I could sneak in a touch of Liberty so long as it was floating on a veritable sea of white.  Hmm... lots of white/neutrals and a bit of color?  Ah, yes, that quilt already exists!

photo from Savor Each Stitch

When Carolyn Friedlander's book Savor Each Stitch released, this quilt absolutely stole my heart.  It's the color play, yes, but also the amazing texture of her quilting.  My heart and apparently hundreds more!  Carolyn's Aerial Grove design has been a big hit, so you may have seen it popping up around blogland.  Carolyn has actually made another version with gray neutrals and Liberty of London fabrics, which you can spy on her blog.

choosing fabrics for Aerial Grove

Yesterday I pulled out my Liberty of London and voiles to tease out a rainbow.  Since you only need a 2.5" square for the rainbow applique pieces, I thought I might have near enough with all my scraps.  Um, no.  The pattern calls for 80 applique fabrics for a queen sized quilt.  I have about.... 30.  Time to go shopping!

You can find Liberty of London in several U.S. shops, including Westwood Acres, but if you want to pinch those pennies and buy an assortment of 2.5" charm squares, you might end up purchasing straight from England.  I have 100 little squares of lovely on the way from Norwich!

choosing fabrics for Aerial Grove

For my "background" neutrals, I plan to use lots of solid white and pale gray, plus some low volume whites and grays.  Most of my low volumes are cream or black/white, so I also had to do some special looking for backgrounds.  I hope what I've ordered fits the bill!

Now that I've thought this through, I'm eager to get started on the applique rainbow.  This whole waiting for fabric thing is not how I usually roll, since mostly I work from stash.  So... I may have started a new scrap quilt today.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Register Now for your Penny Sampler!

Thank you for your enthusiastic response to "How would you like your Penny Sampler?" earlier this month!!!  The Penny Sampler is a digital course centered around the making of an epic quilt with 30+ Scandinavian-inspired sampler blocks.  Students learn how to use machine applique, precise piecing and machine paper piecing to create tricky traditional geometric piecework and picture-motif blocks.

the Penny Sampler

In response to my poll, you shared an overwhelming preference for a year-long, block-of-the-month style Penny Sampler experience.  However, some of you have excellent reasons for preferring a more compact journey, so I've decided to offer 3 options.  And they're available for registration today!

     {12 Month} Penny Sampler
Savor your sampler all year long!  This version is paced with 3-4 sampler blocks per month and plenty of time to digest course skills with provided practice projects.  A great choice if you've never machine appliqued or machine paper pieced before!  Your first Penny Sampler segment will be delivered January 1st and will include guidance on color schemes and fabric selection.

     {6 Month} Penny Sampler 
Get her done while your enthusiasm is fresh!  This version is paced with about 6 sampler blocks per month.  A great choice for the more confident student ready to dive in and get started right away!  Includes 100% of the content of the 12 Month version, just in a more compact format.  Your first Penny Sampler segment is a Prelude, to be delivered within 24 hours of registration.  Use the Prelude to design your color scheme and purchase fabrics so you're ready to start sewing when the 6-Month sampler begins on January 1st.

     Penny Sampler Course Book
Do you prefer to receive the complete 400 page course book all in one go?  This is your ticket!  Great for advanced quilters or those with complex schedules who prefer to be entirely self-paced.  (Note:  Those on the 12-Month or 6-Month journeys will receive the same complete course book at the end of their sampler.) 

I hope that one of these options will be a perfect match to your needs!  To clarify, all options include the exact same content delivered in PDF form via email, just organized differently.  They are each priced at $55.  As your teacher, I am available to answer your questions via email throughout your journey.  Also, you can switch to another version should your needs change in 2017!  Yes, that means if you fall behind on the 6-month sampler, you can opt to switch to the 12-month track.  Just be in touch!  I'll be happy to oblige.

Guess, what?  I'm going to be sewing along with you!  I'm excited to start brainstorming a color scheme for my new Penny Sampler and will look forward to sharing some ideas with you soon.  I plan to follow the 6-month sampler track, posting my progress here on my blog.  I hope we can enjoy some sampler community at Stitched in Color as well as through Instagram.  There's already a hashtag #PennySampler with photos from the original class!

Penny Sampler blocks

Please let me know if you have any questions!  If you need more information on the content of the course, here are some posts from the original class release that will help:

**Penny Sampler Prelude
**Penny Sampler FAQ
**Why Applique? (with block samples)
**The Key to Precise Piecing (with block samples)
**The Joy of Paper Piecing (with block samples)
**Registration for 2013 version

the Penny Sampler - registering now!

You can find all course offerings available for registration now in my Pattern Shop!  It's going to be my pleasure to explore this quirky, Scandinavian-inspired sampler with you in 2017!!! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

coming Home

As the temperatures drop, the leaves begin to show and we all settle in for the holidays, I suddenly need to create needle in hand.  Something restful, something still and quiet and meditative.  I like to think it's the song of autumn that's turning me to needlepoint, aided by this warm cup of tea and the spell of the fireplace; but then again it may just as well be my globe of a belly!  Yes, let's just sit here, be still, BE.

home needlepoint

Choosing a project wasn't easy this time.  I wanted something decorative, some sort of embroidery.  This "home" rainbow piece by Anna Maria Horner is finished as a pillow in her Needleworks Notebook.  I've always love-love-loved the project!  A pillow so fine wouldn't last long in my home, but as a wall hanging it'll do nicely.  And now that our home addition is coming to a close, I know just the wall that'll suit it!

home needlepoint

Luckily I already had a rainbow of Appleton crewel wool on hand, purchased ages ago as color samplers from Wool & Hoop.  You could also do the piece in embroidery floss, but I like the idea of a matte finish.  Seems less fussy.

home needlepoint

Anna invites readers to choose their own word, but "home" seems exactly right for me.  Home is the place I most like to be.  It's the place I get to dress up and embellish with my handmades.  The place I school my children and work.  And most of all at this moment, home is the place I hope to bring my newborn baby after next Tuesday's induction.  Please.  Please. Please.

I penciled on the "home" template a flow of rainbow colors to guide my stitchings and transferred the outline onto Kona Candy Green with Saral transfer paper and a knitting needle, used as a stylus.  Though I adore Anna Maria's neutral background, this shade will stand out better on my cream walls.
 home needlepoint

The work is slow, methodical and delicious.  I'm using a long/short stitch that's sometimes also a split stitch, as suggested in the book.  At first I was a bit alarmed at how slow it progressed, but a few days in I'm now a little concerned by how fast it is progressing!  Addictive for sure.  

This last photo makes it seem as if my background is puckering something fierce.  It's actually a very subtle pucker; the lighting is exaggerating here.  After noticing the pucker I wondered if Anna Maria added the linear hand quilting to her background fabric on her pillow to hide any pucker flaws.  I plan to do the same!  I'll hand quilt the background to a little batting as a final step. Otherwise, I'm trying not to pull my stitches too tight.  Any other advice to minimize background puckers?  If it was coming out as bad as it looks here, I'd be starting over; but, fortunately, it's not nearly so bad.  Still, always room for improvement!

Note:  This post includes some affiliate Amazon links.  That means when you follow the links and make a purchase, I earn a small commission through Amazon.  I usually use Amazon affiliate links when referencing books on this site.  Full disclosure!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

a Pretty Patchwork tree skirt!

Ziggy Round Christmas tree skirt

Happy Crafterday!  I spent a few hours today finishing up my new Christmas tree skirt.  It came out just exactly as I had hoped, so I'm on a patchwork high at the moment!!!  Here are some details in case you'd like to make your own....

Tree Skirt in quilt-as-you-go

First, fabrics.  The best part.  I chose all my fabrics from stash in a Denyse Schmidt-inspired, faux scrappy color scheme, cutting a couple 2.5" strips from each.  Using large batting bases measuring 26" wide, I quilted-as-you-go diagonal stripes on a 45 degree angle and then cut them into wedges. Each wedge is 24" long, cut to 8" wide at the base and 1.5" wide at the tip.  See this post for more details. 

Ziggy Round Christmas tree skirt

I wasn't sure how many wedges I'd need until I got them sewn together!  Turns out 16 did the trick. Using a walking foot, I joined my wedges with a generous 1/4" seam and pressed those seams open, batting and all.

Ziggy Round Christmas tree skirt

For the backing I pieced together two large scraps of Ikea home decor fabric.  After pinning the quilted top to the huge, square backing, I cut out the backing shape to match the skirt top.  Then, I quilted in the ditch of each patchwork wedge to attach the skirt top to my backing.

Ziggy Round Christmas tree skirt

With all three layers now securely attached, I cut edges flush, rounding out any slightly cornered spots where wedge-edges meet. Since I'm working with curved edges, I needed a bias cut binding.  You'll want three packages (9 yards) of store bought double fold binding to finish the edges.  Oh, and Clover wonder clips are soooo handy here.  I only have these because I've received two packs as gifts.  I prefer pins for regular quilt binding, but for ready-made/already-folded binding, these clips are more effective and so much easier to use.  You don't need enough clips to hold binding around a whole skirt all at once.  Just use what you have, sew the binding down and then clip another long section.  Repeat!

Ziggy Round Christmas tree skirt

A few fabric ties made out of binding bits and attached with the binding finish her off.  Nothing fancy here.  This part is always hidden behind the tree anyways.

Ziggy Round Christmas tree skirt

Hip, hip, hoorah!  After a false start choosing fabrics, I am so glad I did some Pinterest research, got inspired and tried again.  This balance of colorful/saturated with large helpings of low volume really hits the spot.  I want to kiss it!  Smooch.

Or at least figure out something fun to make with my leftover bits and pieces...

Loving this color scheme?  Stash Denyse Schmidt fabrics from Fat Quarter Shop and Westwood Acres or from Polka Dot Tea in Australia or from Mad About Patchwork in Canada.

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