crossroads quilt along- the final month!

It's the very final month of the Crossroads quilt along! This is the month of the pieced backing. Ok, so before I show you my pictures, let me warn you. My iron DIED just as I was finishing this up. As in, spitting black coffee-colored gunk all over my cream fabric DEAD. So I never say this, but please excuse my wrinkles!

I am in love with this backing! It's a huge, 36" square block, surrounded by simple borders. The original pattern is a scrappy block; it is made with leftover prints from the front of the quilt, plus cream solid background and a cream print border. It looks great just the way it was designed. But sometimes I like to customize patterns just to be different. With the backing, I definitely wanted it to be non-scrappy. So I printed out multiple copies of the pattern and then colored right on top of them with pencils until I found the right color combo. Yep, I'm really hi tech and modern here!

I made a block with pinks, yellows and greens against a printed cream background. But it didn't work at all - there were too many medium tones, and the star just faded away. And then, late one night (because that's when I do my best thinking), I thought why not try a medium background with a dark star? I made myself a color chart so that I wouldn't accidentally cut the wrong prints. (These pieces are big. I didn't want to chop up half yards and then realize that I cut the wrong fabric!)

Have I already mentioned that I love the backing now? I can easily flip the quilt over for a whole new look!

I used the Crossroads backing kit from Fat Quarter Shop (available here) and added in the pink and aqua fabric. Crossroads was a fundraiser for March of Dimes, co-sponsored by Moda Fabrics and Fat Quarter Shop. I'm so happy to see that the quilting community has raised over $12,000. While the monthly projects are finished, you still have the opportunity to make the quilt using either your own fabrics or the kit that I used, available here. A link to some additional details about the quilt along, as well as the monthly patterns and a link to the contribution page at March of Dimes is right over here.

Thanks for being there with me as I made this quilt throughout the year. I can't wait to send it off to Melissa for some custom quilting! A new charitable quilt along will start in January. I'll be sharing more details as we get closer to the kickoff, but you can see a sneak peek here. It'll be fun, and I hope that you'll consider joining us.

(And finally, RIP dear Rowenta iron. You did an amazing job pressing LOTS of seams this past year. Your poor cord was plugged in for 3-5 hours every day and you never complained. But let's face it... you gave up and stopped steaming a few months ago. I hope that you are out of your misery now and enjoying your new life at the bottom of the trash can. I would have bought another iron just like you, but you've been discontinued. A shiny new iron from Reliable is coming to take your place very soon. Pam is already using one and is very happy (so far). I'll be sure to let you know all about her, dear readers.)

Oh wait, I have one more thing to share! Judi Duncan is the winner of the Maggie's First Dance September giveaway. Judi is working on a Dear Daughter quilt. Congratulations, Judi!

maggie's first dance month 4, and a giveaway

Hi everybody! It's the first Monday of the month, and y'all know what that means, right? It's time for the next block in the Maggie's First Dance block of the month! It was designed by Jacquelynne Steves, and it's a free pattern. This was the last individual block, and then next month we'll make the five simple connecting blocks. Doesn't it seem like we just started this quilt along yesterday? Once again, this month's block is relatively simple to construct once you've finished up a bunch of half-square-triangles and flying geese. I finally had a chance to fussy cut that cute rabbit print from Elea Lutz's Strawberry Biscuit collection.  

You've probably already signed up to receive your copy of the pattern. But if you haven't, then head on over to Jacquelynne's website and sign up for her newsletter right here. And don't forget to check out this same block as interpreted by the other participating bloggers.

Finally, I have another giveaway for you! One winner will receive an assortment of patterns from Snuggles Quilts, valued at $30. For a chance to win, leave a comment here letting me know what you're working on (for more chances to win, visit Snuggles Quilts and the other participating bloggers). The giveaway will be open until Sunday, September 11 at 11:59pm Central. Make sure that I'm able to reach you if you're the winner! And for my US readers, I hope that you enjoy the Labor Day holiday!

more popsicles, and new things in my studio this week

Hello everybody! I hope that you all had a great weekend. We did some unexpected gardening... or should I call it un-gardening? Our flowerboxes and potted plants were looking, how should I say it, exhausted. Or dehydrated, maybe. The plants have been extremely prolific but I think that they were just plain tired (and potbound). The bugs all knew it too, and lately they've been on the attack. So we did some extensive digging and cleaning and bagging and sweeping, and now we're down to one potted geranium. I like to think of it as just clearing the way for chrysanthemums and pumpkins.

Anyway... I managed to get some actual sewing done, too! I've been adding to my collection of popsicle blocks. The tilted blocks are done and now I just need to finish the simple, straight up-and-down blocks, and then I can sash them together. What's interesting is that when I started the blocks I used very subtle cream print backgrounds, but now I find that I really like the busier prints like the grey dotted backgrounds.  The pattern is by Fig Tree and Co and it's in the new pattern book Sherbets & Creams. You can check out the book and see the other patterns on Fig Tree's website here. I'm working with Moda Bella solids in a special Fig Tree bundle, mixed with cream backgrounds from my stash - Fig Tree, Minick & Simpson, Bunny Hill, Sweetwater, 3 Sisters.

And some new items found their way into my sewing studio this week! First, some really cute tins by Lori Holt for Bee In My Bonnet.

Are they the most adorable tins you've ever seen? The red tin also contains some notecards that correspond with the tin lids. They're sold as a set of 6 or individually here.

And then... more tins! These are the perfect size for holding a rotary cutter, scissors and thread, or let's be real here... they're perfect for holding sewing SNACKS (chocolate for me in one tin and Temptations treats for Miss Chloe Cat in another tin). Plus the new Jolly Bar Book by Fat Quarter Shop. It's been on my nightstand all week. Never mind that reading quilt books keeps me awake because then my mind goes to work, putting fabric combinations together when I should be asleep! (Same thing happens with cookbooks, only I start cooking in my sleep LOL!) The set of three tins is available here, and the Jolly Bar Book is here

And I bought a few new patterns and charm packs, too. I often buy charm packs just to see what the fabric looks like before I invest in yardage. This week I added Grand Traverse Bay by Minick & Simpson. I love a good blue and white quilt - so clean and crisp and classic.

And I also picked up a copy of Me and My Sister's Precut Primer book and a charm pack of their latest collection, Brighten Up! I've always liked their bright, happy prints and I'm trying to figure out how to make them work for me.

So that's what's new in the studio this week. Oh no, I forgot something! The Seedlings quilt is back from being quilted by Melissa, and it's gorgeous. Now I need to bind it. You can see it on my Instagram page here, and I'll show you more pics here on my blog after I've finished the stitching. Happy sewing, y'all!

high tea party blog tour

It's time for high tea! Welcome to my stop on the High Tea Party Blog Tour. High Tea is the premiere fabric collection from Jera Brandvig for Lecien Fabrics. I've long been a fan of Jera's way-too-pretty quilts (and I gotta admit, her little dog Paige is really cute, too, always hamming it up for the camera). Jera writes the blog Quilting In The Rain, although I know her best from Instagram. She is also the author of Quilt As You Go Made Modern. So when Jera asked if I'd like to join her on the blog tour my answer was a big, excited YES! The new High Tea collection is inspired by Jera's love of quilts and china dishes, and that's something that we have in common.

I love the names of her colorways: Fig Red, Butter Cream, Green Tea, Dusty Pink, Brown Sugar and Cottage Blue, and the prints include teapots, flowers and lace. And do I need to mention those strawberry prints?! They look just like the strawberries in my garden!

strawberry plants.jpg

But I know that you're here for more than strawberries and tea, right? So let's serve up a High Tea pillow!

When I received the fabric, I knew right away that I wanted to do an applique project. This 18" pillow was done with two charm packs plus some border and backing fabric. To make it, I cut most of the charms into four 2 1/2" squares, and I left the charms with larger prints whole so that I could do some fussy cutting. The applique method that I used was freezer paper and starch to create the shapes. I then hand appliqued them to the base with silk thread, and finally, I hand quilted around each clamshell. I used to be afraid of applique, but then I watched this lengthy video with Joanna Figueroa, and I thought, hey, I CAN do that. Rather than do a full tutorial here, check out her video and you'll see how un-scary the process can be. Here are the supplies that I used. Notice the freezer paper templates that I used until they were scorched beyond recognition. And then there's the essential sewing snack!

And next, I really wanted to have a quilted pillow backing with a zipper. But I don't know how to do zippers! (I had one experience with zippers in design college. I actually sat there in the classroom in NYC crying over that stupid zipper and the other students had to rescue me.) Well, Jera has the perfect zipper tutorial on her website, and that was all I needed. It's EASY! The zipper isn't flawless, but I learned a lot and it functions, too!

Next up is a simple strippy pillow, with loose, squishy pleats. It was made using another tutorial from Jera's website. (Yes, I love online tutorials!)

These two pillows are already best friends, living side-by-side on my bed.

Thank you for joining me today. I hope you've enjoyed our time together for High Tea. And thanks so much, Jera, for inviting me to play along with your beautiful fabric collection. High Tea is available now at some of my favorite online quilt shops, here and here. And look for it in your local quilt shops, too.  The blog tour continues all week long, and the schedule below has the remaining stops. Meanwhile, please join me on Instagram where you'll always see the latest projects that I'm working on.

crossroads quilt along - the big assembly

I know that I say I love all my quilts, but I really love this one. Extra love for the Crossroads quilt! This month, the blocks were connected with sashing, and I arranged the blocks exactly like the pattern. The pieced border has 122 red half-square-triangles. And I have a little confession. The pattern directs you to make them using triangles-on-a-roll paper. But instead, I used my usual method which is done by placing two slightly oversized squares right sides together, drawing a line from corner to corner and sewing 1/4" away from the line on both sides, cutting in half on the drawn line and pressing them open, and then trimming the pressed HSTs down to exactly the right size. Use whichever method works best for YOU! And finally, I added the five borders.

I loved watching the quilt come to life with each step of the assembly. It looks like the perfect antique that I hoped to find at the antique flea market that we went to yesterday at the local 4-H Center. Sadly, all I found were tattered, abused quilts - I wonder if those quilts were loved very much, or if they were just used for farming needs. Well, now I have my own "instant" antique quilt!

I'm so happy that I participated in the sew along, and I really hope that you've been sewing with us. All of the patterns are still available free of charge here, courtesy of Fig Tree Quilts and Fat Quarter Shop. A minimum donation of $5 to March of Dimes is requested for the use of each pattern, and your donation will go directly to the charity. This month's video tutorial is really helpful (and at least I learned how to use those trianges-on-a-roll!). Next month, we'll assemble the pieced backing - I'm using the kit, and I'm planning to tweak it a just a little :-) and then Crossroads can go off to my quilter!

Also - congratulations to last week's giveaway winner, Tammy Barnhardt! Tammy likes to decorate for Christmas with red and gold, but she's thinking of trying pink and teal. Thanks, everybody, for playing along!

moda modern building blocks quilt FINISHED!

I have a finish to share with you today! The Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt is finished, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. I can hardly believe that I started this in July 2014 - two years ago! The last time it appeared on this blog was February 2015, and at that time, I said that I had only two blocks to go. Wow, how time flies!

The pattern was a bit challenging, for sure. The block patterns instruct you to use triangles (not the stitch-and-flip method), so lots of careful cutting and pinning was needed. Several of the blocks - such as the large 36" block! - have stretchy bias on the outer edges. I loved working with the Fig Tree color palette, with a few prints added for interest. I added a narrow Fig Tree toile outer border in a taupe color.  There were three reasons why I did this. First, I wanted to contain all those seams that would have been on the outer edge. Second, adding an outer border ensured that no star points would be accidentally hidden within the binding. And finally, the borders created a quilt that was the perfect size for a queen bed (it finished, with borders, at 90" x 102" before washing). It was quilted in a Baptist fan pattern by Kaylene Parry of Lehi, UT, and I love how her quilting helps to bring a classic element to a modern quilt. 

But I don't have the quilt anymore - it's been gifted! When I was first started working on the quilt, my friend Carole saw it on the blog and mentioned that she'd be happy to have it. I thought how perfect, now I know what to give her for Christmas! So this past Thanksgiving, I took the still-unfinished quilt top to Ohio so that she and her husband Russ could have a preview. Then I stuffed it into a bag and brought it home :-) I added the border and shipped it off to Kaylene for quilting. And then it sat in my studio for another three months until I stitched the binding (Surely I am not the only lazy quilter when it comes time to do the binding?!) Carole and Russ came to visit us in Indiana last weekend, and I was so happy to be able to present them with a finished quilt... at last.

Specifics: my fabric mix was part of a monthly block-of-the-month program from Fig Tree Quilts. It is made of Moda Bella solids and some Fig Tree Somerset prints. The pattern was written with a different color grouping. You can see more detail about the blocks and fabric yardage requirement on this Moda pdf that I found online. I also searched and found that a copy of the pattern is still available here.

Giveaway: don't forget that you still have a few more days to enter the giveaway on my last blog post! I know that I had a problem earlier this week and my blog wasn't accepting comments. Sorry about that! It's been corrected, so go ahead and enter... just make sure that I can reach you by email if you're the lucky winner!

maggie's first dance month 3, and a giveaway

Can anybody guess what I did on a rainy Sunday afternoon? I made this month's Maggie's First Dance block! It's a fun block-of-the-month project, and it only takes a few hours to sew each block. They're getting easier to make, because the same construction techniques are used throughout the project.  If you need to practice making flying geese and half square triangles, this is the project to try! The pattern is designed by Jacquelynne Steves, and it is free. All you need to do is sign up for her newsletter, and then a new pattern is published the first Monday of each month. You can sign up here. We've done 3 blocks so far, with one more to go, then four connecting blocks, and finally the big assembly.

And if you like to applique and/or embroider, Jacquelynne has cute floral motifs that fit into the center squares of each block. I went with a focal print instead - I needed a place to show off the little animals in the Strawberry Biscuit fabric collection by Elea Lutz.

I'm sewing along with six other bloggers (and Jacquelynne, too), and it's fun to see how we each interpret the same pattern. Be sure to visit them to see what they're up to with their Maggie blocks.

And now it's time for this month's giveaway, sponsored by Eva Paige Quilt Designs! One winner from each of the participating blogs will receive the Mod-ified Trees table runner pattern AND fabric kit. It's perfect for an early Christmas project. Just leave me a comment letting me know what your Christmas color theme/scheme is.  Red and green? Silver and gold? Pink and aqua? (Yes, I know that's a silly request, but I thought it might be fun. Lately, I'm loving the shimmery, frosty look, with a gazillion lights, and I cannot wait to put up the holiday décor again!) The contest is open to all, and it will close on Sunday, August 7 at 11:59pm CST. Just be sure that I can reach you by email if you happen to be the lucky winner!

holiday wishes blog hop

Welcome to my stop on the Holiday Wishes book blog tour! It's time for Christmas in July with Fat Quarter Shop and author Sherri Falls. This book is full of great quilts (10 of them, including the sampler shown on the cover), plus a runner and a tree skirt.

I was curious to see if I could translate a Christmas quilt into a Halloween quilt, and I just happened to have a fat quarter bundle of Bunny Hill's latest fabric collection, Spooky Delight. I love those little goofy cats, mice and owls, as well as the dots and stripes.  After about a month of pondering (I am not kidding... I even had the book on my bedside table!) I finally decided on the Gingham Stars pattern.

Twelve "gingham" star centers coming right up! I used the smaller prints here, and I reserved the larger prints for the star points. The blocks measure a generous 18", so you could easily turn one block into a pillow, or keep going for a king sized quilt.

The top goes together very quickly once you've finished your blocks. Super simple sashing and no outer borders! (I backstitched all the seams that fall on the outer edges so that nothing will pop apart when it's on the longarm machine.)

The patterns in Holiday Wishes are very easy to understand, and the book has lots of construction diagrams. I always appreciate having arrows to indicate which direction to press my seams. (Hey, it's hot here, and my brain doesn't always function perfectly in the heat!) Of course, Sherri provides yardage requirements, but if you use a fat quarter bundle like I did, you'll definitely have a generous amount of fabric left over for another quilt (I'm planning to make a bunch of these cute scaredy cats with my scraps).

There are lots of other projects in this book that I'd still like to make (maybe even a Christmas quilt?!) so I'll keep it near my sewing machine. There's still plenty of time before Christmas, right? You can pick up a copy here. Special thanks to Fat Quarter Shop and Sherri Falls for asking me to play along!

crossroads quilt along - chain blocks

It's Crossroads quilt along time again! This month I made the chain blocks that will link the blocks from previous months. It sure was nice to have simple, partially chain-pieced blocks to sew.

Sewing with red and pink fabric always puts me in a happy mood. For the block centers, my original plan was to go with just one color (either aqua or pink) but then I went scrappy like the pattern suggests.

Are you sewing along with the #crossroadsquiltalong? You can still join us! The pattern download is here, and it's free. A donation of $5 is requested to March of Dimes for the use of the pattern - we've raised over $10,000 so far! I'm using the quilt kit since I love the Fig Tree Strawberry Fields Revisited fabric so much. Watch the tutorial video here with Joanna Figueroa and Kimberly Jolly from Fat Quarter Shop. Joanna explains the inspiration for the chain block. And next month we get to start assembling the quilt top!

And I'd like to congratulate Lori Smanski! Lori is the winner of last week's giveaway, part of the Maggie's First Dance Quit Along. She'll soon receive a package of Thermoweb products valued at $60.

Now go download your pattern and start sewing!

maggie's first dance month 2, plus a giveaway!

Hi everybody! It's time for the second block in the Maggie's First Dance quilt along! It's a free block of the month, designed by Jacquelynne Steves. It was another fun block to stitch - just sign up for the newsletter which contains the FREE pattern, pick your fabric and start sewing. I'm enjoying using fun retro prints by Elea Lutz and Lori Holt in this quilt... plus a few Riley Blake ginghams.

I even learned something new while sewing this block. Jacquelynne has a super nifty way of making flying geese blocks. I thought I had seen just about every way there is of making flying geese, and then I received this pattern and thought "what a great idea!" - and I'm sure that you will, too. I won't give away the secret, but let's just say that you make them slightly larger and trim them down.

I was also able to whip up the second block in 2 hours - that's relatively quick for me. While I was sewing, there were tornado and hail updates on radio, literally every 3 minutes. I panicked a little - what if we lost power and I couldn't sew?! Then what would I do?! (Four hours later, we still have power. And my block is done :-) The rain didn't stop us from going out for pizza, but the roads are very flooded.)

I hope that you'll consider sewing along with me and my new quilty friends. We're all making the Maggie Quilt. Some quilters are using an appliqued center (where I've used the teddy bear on a turtle print), some are using applique, and one quilter is even doing two versions! First, visit Jacquelynne Steves at her blog The Art of Home to sign up for her newsletter - the newsletter contains the free block pattern! Then go check out the other Maggie Quilt blocks here:

And I know that you're all waiting for the giveaway. This week, we have a fabulous quilter's package from Thermoweb. You've probably already tried (and love) their products, including Spray N Bond and Heat N Bond. One winner from my blog will receive a prize package worth $60! Just leave me a comment letting me know what you're working on this week, or where you're vacationing this summer. For more chances to win, visit the other participating bloggers to enter their giveaways, too.

The giveaway is open to Continental US readers only. This is due to the limitation on shipping aerosol products. (Don't panic, there's another giveaway for all readers, so keep reading!) Contest will close on 11:59pm CST on July 11. Please be sure that I can reach you by email if you are the winner, or another winner will be chosen. 

There is an additional giveaway that is open to ALL readers (including HI, AK and overseas) over at The Quilting Gallery. Four copies of a digital pattern will be awarded. Follow this link for more details.

And finally, due to my oversight, I forgot to announce the winner of the Aurifil giveaway. Jodi Guerrero is the happy recipient of a designer box of thread, which is being shipped to her from Italy. I've already notified Jodi by email, and I can assure you that she is very happy.

Thanks for visiting today, and enjoy making your Maggie's First Dance blocks! 

happy birthday, farm girl vintage!

Welcome to the birthday party! Look at the cute cake I baked for the birthday girl! Lori Holt's book Farm Girl Vintage is celebrating her first birthday. How much do we all love this book? Lori's patterns are always fun, and they come with very easy to understand directions. I want to make everything that she designs.

I'm still farming my blocks for the cover sampler quilt. I've completed over half of them, and I've added in a few of the bonus blocks that are available for purchase separately. Like the corn and tomatoes block. Oh how I love that corn block!

My blocks are 6" square. Now if only I could find nice juicy corn and tomatoes like this at a local farmstand. And the book also has a perfect flag block that you can make for the Fourth of July - it has a single friendship star.

Meet the mama hen block with her light blue wing. (Yes, she's missing her little embroidered eye. I'll add it later!)

I'm sewing with fabrics from Brenda Riddle and Fig Tree Quilts. I love how Brenda's pale Bespoke Blooms prints mix with my large Fig Tree collection.

I am having so much fun working on the blocks. They're like little gems, and every time I finish one I have to just step back and say "isn't this the cutest block." Luckily only the cats can hear me talking to myself! For the postage stamp below, I cut 36 different squares and hoped that it would be cute instead of a mess.

And while you might know me as the town mouse from NYC who packed up and became the country mouse in Indiana, would you believe that my mother grew up with a chicken coop in the backyard? I remember always seeing that coop behind my grandparent's house in Connecticut, and I was afraid of those clucking sounds. Here's 9 year old Bunny, my own original farm girl, with her baby brother and their pet rooster Whitey.

Just look at those chicken feet!

So I had to ask mom to tell me about Whitey. Well, he was the family pet until he pecked her. And then Whitey became Sunday dinner. Oops! But my grandparents always had fresh eggs from their chickens, and that was where I first saw brown eggs. And with those eggs, of course, my grandmother baked amazing cakes, which always had buttercream frosting, and often raspberry or lemony custard filling. That's what inspired the colors of my layer cake block. (I'm lucky to have several of her frosting recipes.)

Would you like to bake your own cake block? The pattern PDF is a free download at Fat Quarter Shop, and it comes in 6" and 12" sizes! No need to preheat your oven or sift the flour! Just visit the Jolly Jabber blog here for more information. The Farm Girl Vintage book can be purchased here, and the corn and tomatoes block pattern is here. And Lori always has something fun going on at her Bee In My Bonnet blog, too.

Finally, I'd like to invite you to see the cake blocks that many bloggers have "baked" for the birthday celebration. Feel free to visit their parties. And don't forget that you can see my daily sewing updates by following me on Instagram (I'm @greydogwoodstudio).

crossroads quilt along - intersection block

Hi y'all! Just a short, quick, sweet post today to let you know that it's time for the Crossroads quilt along again! This month we're making the Intersection block. In the tutorial video, Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts and Kimberly Jolly of Fat Quarter Shop discuss the intersections in their lives. But we're at another type of intersection, too - we've now finished the vintage-inspired blocks, and next month we will start the chain blocks that will pull everything together. Are you sewing along with us? You can still catch up! Check out this blog post for all the details on how to download the pattern (it's free, but a donation of $5 or more is requested to March of Dimes).

beginner charm pack placemats

Hi everybody! I'd like to share with you my new placemats! Or should I call them mini quilts?! Ohmigosh these are SO easy and quick to make. I suppose that's why quilt and fabric designer Sherri McConnell teamed up with Fat Quarter Shop to design "Beginner Charm Pack Placemats." To make FOUR placemats, all you need is one regular sized charm pack (the 5" charms) and enough fabric for a narrow border, plus minimal fabric for backing, binding, and some batting.

I used Little Miss Sunshine by Lella Boutique for Moda Fabrics, and a few pieces from her previous collection, Gooseberry (I had to have that print with the geese in it!)  I wanted a summery look for my placemats, so I used the warm prints and saved the navy and olive charms for a future project.

To get four placemats with the same prints, I actually bought two identical Little Miss Sunshine charm packs, although you wouldn't need to do this if you use all the prints in a collection. Or of course, cut up your stash! I'd love to make these again in Fourth of July red, white and blue. Or maybe with Halloween, Christmas, or even birthday party prints.

I quilted them on my Brother sewing machine with a 1" diagonal grid that I marked with a Frixion pen. I love these pens because the ink disappears with the heat of an iron. I probably wouldn't use them on an heirloom quality quilt, but they worked just fine for my placemats.

I also used a coordinating but contrasting fabric on the back (it's also from the Little Miss Sunshine collection). Now I can have two looks from one set of placemats!

My regular readers might notice a whole bunch of props in today's photos! I've been prop-challenged up until now, but the only way I'll get better at it is to keep trying, right?! I always see all those beautiful photos online and wonder how people do it. I hope that you like my props... now I'm going to need a prop closet LOL!

So, here's some specific info on how to make the placemats. I watched a tutorial video with Sherri McConnell and Kimberly from Fat Quarter Shop here. It was really easy to just write down the supplies, but here's what you'll need:

  • One charm pack
  • 1/4 yard contrast fabric for side borders
  • 1/2 yard binding
  • 3/4 yard backing (I bought a yard so that I'd have some left over)
  • I used two packages of fusible fleece batting

I followed Sherri's instructions for piecing the placemats, and then finished them with the following:

  • 2 - 2 1/2" x 12 1/2" side border strips for each placemat
  • 7- 2 1/2" x width of fabric strips for binding
  • 4 - 13 1/2" x 20" rectangles for placemat backings

I hope that you'll give these placemats a try. I really enjoyed working on them. Now I need to actually USE them on my table and not fear the vinaigrette splatters!

popsicles!

Summer = an excess of frozen treats in my house. So a few weeks ago I started to work on this new pattern from Fig Tree Quilts called Popsicles. I like to think of it as a palette cleanser between the larger, ongoing quilt projects. Kinda like a lemon sorbet after the steak, know what I mean?!

I'm working with this luscious stack of Moda Bella Solids in sherbet colors, curated by Fig Tree. I ordered it here, along with a copy of the runner pattern. I think they'd be really cute in prints, too.

But... I don't have much use for a runner on our round farmhouse table. So I decided to keep making more popsicles for a larger quilt. (The runner needs just 11 blocks, but I've made 20 so far.) And now Joanna has designed a larger quilt just brimming with popsicles! I preordered my copy this morning, and I'll keep sewing blocks. The larger quilt pattern is available here. I might need to make that melon slice quilt on the cover, too!

I was thinking about my own personal history with popsicles. I remember going to the corner store with my parents in Florida, just to get an evening popsicle. But the wooden sticks give me tongue shivers! I loved Fudgsicles back then, and mom occasionally made popsicles with a Tupperware mold. Then came the Dove bar craze. My love of popsicles came to a crashing end in the late 1980's when I worked for a small company that couldn't afford to make the weekly payroll, so they'd pay us with... FrozeFruit. Seriously! I vividly remember the company owner cackling that "we can't pay you this week, but have a FrozeFruit." And to this day I refuse to eat FrozeFruit! But I still like those Haagen-Dazs dark chocolate ice cream bars! And I just bought a new ice cream maker last week.

DON'T FORGET TO ENTER THE AURIFIL THREAD GIVEAWAY! Leave a comment on my last blog post (not this one) for a chance to win! (ps - I'm using Aurifil thread, color 2000 on the popsicles)

maggie's first dance bom starts today! and an aurifil thread giveaway!

Hi everybody! Today is the official kickoff day for the latest monthly block of the month program from Jacquelynne Steves. It's called Maggie's First Dance. Let me show you the first block.

I had sew much fun making this block. Jacquelynne offers a choice of three centers for our blocks - you can applique, embroider, or leave them plain. I chose to use a cute focus fabric with some happy little critters.

The piecing instructions are super easy to follow. The hourglass segments are sewn slightly larger than needed and then trimmed down to the correct size. I always love that method because then I know that my pieces will fit together perfectly. And Jacquelynne even specifies which direction to press your seams so there's no guesswork there. Really, the most difficult part was just picking out my fabrics!

I hope that you'll join me as a quilty dance partner. To get your own FREE copy of the Maggie's First Dance quilt block, just sashay over to Jaquelynne's website and sign up for her newsletter. You'll then receive an emailed copy of the pattern. How easy is that?! And then do-si-do (or two step!) back over here to my blog because we have a GREAT giveaway!

My very favorite thread is Aurifil. It's the only brand that I use for my piecing. It's strong and doesn't break, it comes in a million colors (maybe more!) and it doesn't leave a linty trail like some other brands. I do all my basic piecing with Aurifil 50 weight thread in colors 2000 and 2021. They're both white and cream shades. I'll use the colors if I'm piecing something where I really don't want any cream thread to show, and they help to create a flawless hand-stitched binding. I'm trying to push myself to try the pastels when doing machine quilting.

Aurifil is offering a box of threads valued at $46.00 to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment here on my blog. Let me know what your favorite color is for piecing. Contest is open to US and international readers. Actual box of threads will be of Aurifil's choice, and Aurifil will ship the prize directly to the winner. Contest closes at 11:59pm CST on June 12. If you're the winner, be sure that I can contact you or else another winner will be chosen.

And be sure to check out the other bloggers participating in the sew along (I need to go visit them, too, to see their blocks!). Here's who is making the quilt with me:

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I do hope that you'll give this block-of-the-month a try!

 

 

    crossroads quilt along - month 4 - and a giveway winner!

    It's month 4 of the Crossroads quilt along. This month's "Family" block represents the bonds that quilters have with our families. It's also traditionally called the Mother's Choice block, and you might also notice that it is similar to the Weathervane block. But whatever we call it, it's a cute block!

    They're cleverly disguised, but there are 32 flying geese in these blocks. Maybe they represent the family of flying Canada geese around my home?! (It's definitely easier to WATCH live geese than to SEW flying geese!)

    Watch the video tutorial with Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts and Kimberly Jolly of Fat Quarter shop here, and download the block pattern here. A donation of $5 or more is requested to March of Dimes for the use of the pattern. I'm using the kit with Fig Tree's Strawberry Fields Revisted fabrics. It's available here.

    I took this past week as a vacation "sewcation" and it was very productive. I spent the week sewing something that I'll show you in a few months - my fingers, arm and neck hurt from all that rotary cutting and pressing. I was also able to FINALLY finish planting the flowerboxes, hanging baskets and flowerpots on our balcony. The geranium and lavender plants are covered with flowers and the herbs need to be harvested (who knew that sage grows as quickly as a weed?!) The strawberry plants are already bearing fruit, and they're yummy. (Never mind that the berries are the size of my fingernail... they still taste much better than the local Amish market's "first strawberries of the season" that I should have never baked into a tasteless strawberry pie.)

    And I'm sorry that I forgot to announce a winner for the Maggie's First Dance quilt along pattern giveaway. Congratulations to Liz Horgan! And I hope that you'll join me for the upcoming sew along hosted by Jacquelynne Steves. You'll find all the details on my blog right here.

    Happy sewing!

    farm girl vintage again!

    Happy Monday! I hope that you all had a great weekend! I finally had a chance to pull a favorite book off the shelf, dust it off, and start sewing. It's Farm Girl Vintage by Lori Holt.

    So let me tell you about my experience with this book. I was so excited about it LAST MAY. I picked out my fabrics...

    They're a blend of Ambleside by Brenda Riddle and Aloha Girl by Fig Tree. I happily sewed the first 19 blocks...

    And then you can probably guess what happened. I found out that we'd be relocating to Indiana, and my focus became all about finding a place to live, buying some new furnishings and then the fun drive here from NYC with the cats in the car (anyone with a cat knows that I'm kidding about that!) I brought my sewing machine with us in the car because I was afraid that something bad might happen to it in the moving truck! But I didn't bring any fabric or projects to work on. So of course, by the time our stuff was delivered and my sewing space was set up, well, I had completely lost interest in the Farm Girl Vintage quilt.

    But then something happened. I saw everybody posting their finished quilts on Instagram and I thought WAIT, I NEED TO FINISH MINE! So a few days ago, I pulled out all my blocks and started to sew. First, I made Grandma's Quilt block, and then the Kettle's On block.

    I kept going and made the Haystack and Kitchen Window blocks. Would you believe that I spent two hours choosing these fabrics? The blocks took just minutes to sew.

    The partial block lineup! I love how they look together so far.

    half done!.jpg

    But I could see that I was running into an obstacle. There are several blocks that almost need an orangey fabric. Yes, I could substitute... but you need orange prints to make a pumpkin! And I really, really wanted to make the Homemade Pie block. Of course, pie crust isn't grey or pink. So I asked my Instagram friends about if I should add orange prints. The comments came in quickly, and it was unanimous - everybody told me to not be afraid of orange. I'm now adding the more pale Fig Tree oranges - the butterscotches and softer pumpkins. (I'm adding a few prints from other Brenda Riddle and Fig Tree collections, too.) So here is Homemade Pie! And I needed the Pie Cherries block, too.

    I actually finished the Homemade Pie block on Saturday at 1am (yes, 1am) and the fork tines looked bent. Ugh. That would never do. So after a few hours of sleep, I unsewed the block and fixed it. It quickly became my very favorite block.

    l'm going to keep sewing blocks from the book, and I'll add in some of the extra bonus blocks like the hand mixer and the pig.  I even bought embroidery floss today for the electric cord on the mixer and the tail on the pig. I'm serious about finishing this quilt!

    The Farm Girl Vintage book is available from many retailers, but I got mine here, and the pie block pattern here. There are also several other companion blocks, such as the mixer, a cow, a barn cat, a honey bee and more. You can find all of them here.

    Thanks so much for stopping by today... see you soon... probably with more Farm Girl Vintage blocks!

    maggie's first dance block of the month and GIVEAWAY

    Hi everybody! If you're visiting for the first time, welcome to my blog. Today, I'd like to tell you about a fun new block of the month quilt along! And I'm sure that you know I've already signed up, because I seem to be completely unable to resist a good BOM! (And if you're still with me in a few minutes, I might have a giveaway!)

    Let me tell you all about it. First, it's designed by Jacquelynne Steves. I've followed Jacquelynne on Instagram for quite awhile and I've always admired her cheerful quilt designs and watercolor art. She has also designed several fabric collections and is contributing to the Splendid Sampler (I know that many of you are making those blocks!). But I didn't know that she designs a FREE block of the month every year. Do you want to see what we're making?

    I love it - four different focus blocks, five setting blocks and a border to showcase a special print. You have three options for the pieced blocks - applique the center, embroider the center, or just leave them plainly pieced. I've chosen to piece my blocks and I'll use a fun retro print for the center of each block. 

    The BOM will run for 6 months, and it begins in June. We'll make blocks in June, July, August and September. Then we'll make the alternate blocks in October and put it all together in November.

    You can choose any fabrics that you'd like to work with. I've changed my mind about fabrics many times, but I think that I've finally settled on an assortment from three collections. I'll be using Strawberry Biscuit by Elea Lutz, The Shabby Strawberry by Emily Hayes and Calico Days by Lori Holt. Plus a few Riley Blake ginghams for that extra-retro touch. My fabric order just arrived today. And here they are!

    The monthly patterns are FREE. All you need to do is visit Jacquelynne at the link here and sign up for her newsletter. She will email the pattern directly to you each month of the quilt along. She even put together a line drawing of the quilt so that you can color it in with your favorite fabrics. How cool is that?! I'm sewing along with other quilt bloggers, and I hope that you'll visit them, too.

    It will be fun to see everybody's blocks as we sew together. And there will be monthly giveaways from the quilt along sponsors. Read more about Jacquelynne's quilt design inspiration and her sponsors here. I'll be showing my blocks every month right here on my blog and also on my Instagram page.

    And we are kicking this off with a GIVEAWAY! Jacquelynne will be providing two digital quilt patterns shown below to one lucky commenter on my blog. Super cute, right?

    All you need to do is leave a comment here. Let me know what crafty project you're working on now or are hoping to start soon. (I'm not picky, so you can tell me anything!) The contest is open to US and international readers and will close at midnight Central time on May 4. I'll chose a winner at random, maybe with the assistance of a cat paw. Just make sure that your email is included in your contact information so I can notify the winner (I'll chose another winner if I can't reach you).

    Ok, so don't forget... go here to register for the free BOM patterns, and follow my progress on Instagram here!

    crossroads quilt along - month 3!

    It's Crossroads quilt along time again! We're up to the third month, and making the "Friendship" block. I really like the circular, almost ring-like design. And it's loaded with flying geese!

    We now have 12 blocks made. Yay! But so far there's only one pink block. I need more pink! And when the quilt along is finished later this year, we'll have this beautiful quilt:

    Crossroads is the annual charitable quilt along sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics. The monthly patterns are free, and a donation of $5 (or more) is requested for March of Dimes. It makes me happy to know that we are sewing for a great cause. You'll find the block pattern here, a new video tutorial with Joanna Figueroa and Kimberly Jolly here. Also check out the special Jolly Jabber Crossroads quilt along blog here for lots of great information about the prior month blocks.  You can use your own fabrics, or make blocks just like mine with this kit featuring the Strawberry Fields Revisited collection by Fig Tree Quilts.

    (And I just returned from my week of meetings in Scottsdale. Now I am officially ready to SEW again!)

    finding time for a mystery

    Hello quilters! I've missed chatting with you! The past month has been full of real-life work activity, and that's involved preparation for client presentations, an action-packed trip to New York and an upcoming trip to Phoenix and Scottsdale. I'D RATHER BE QUILTING! In between all this craziness, I've managed to squeeze in a few minutes to sew this month's blocks for the Fig Tree Mystery Sampler BOM.

    I love those Homestead house blocks. Remember how I made the large Homestead quilt a few years ago? It was just quilted by Melissa and I'm working on the binding. So of course I was more than happy to make more Homestead houses!

    And these "x" plus blocks - I couldn't have guessed that I'd love this black cabbage rose print so much. (Really, I should have known. I don't think I've ever "met" a cabbage rose print that I didn't love!) I might need to buy some yardage of this print before it's gone forever (It's from the Farmhouse collection by Fig Tree.)

    Ok, about these 4" basket blocks. They're cute, and they're small. I think that the aqua basket with the busy background looks a little blurry, but it's done and it's a keeper!

    And now about that trip to NYC last week! Here's the view from my hotel window. That's the LIpstick Building on the right. It's an oval shaped skyscraper, and it's and rosy colored... like a lipstick. The building in the center is my employer's headquarters. Staying in a hotel in the city that was my home for 30 years was just surreal.

    This was my first return trip since September. I dropped my luggage at the hotel and immediately hopped on the subway to go downtown for lunch and some quick shopping. What made it feel weird was that I acted like a New Yorker, but it was no longer my home. It was fun to run around to my favorite places, and I'm glad that I was able to do that. I even ate dinner at my favorite burger place near my old apartment. (And I walked by my old apartment building. What a dump. LOL) My big purchases? A used, out-of-print cookbook and a bunch of imported pasta from Eataly!  I was happy when my seven meetings had ended and I could get on a plane and leave. I guess home really is where you make it - or, home is where you cook your pasta!

    And now I need to pack that suitcase again. The cats will not be happy.  But I'll be back on Friday with the latest Crossroads quilt along block!