great granny twist blog hop with lori holt

Hi everybody! It's my day on the Great Granny Twist blog tour, and I can't wait to show you my project!

We're here celebrating the first birthday of Lori Holt's book Great Granny Squared (has it only been a year?!) It's a fun book with a super easy-to-make block, several quilts and a pillow.

To keep things festive this December, Lori and Fat Quarter Shop asked us to put our own fresh twist on the block patterns shown in the book. So... what could I make that would be honor Lori's great block but also be very me? Well, how about Christmas stockings!

Would you like to make your own Great Granny Squared stockings? Yay! So let's talk about how to make them. I thought that a mini-tutorial would be helpful. You'll need a copy of the Great Granny Squared book. First, pick out some cute fabric! I used two current Moda collections that I'm obsessed with - Fig Tree's Farmhouse and Bunny Hill's Mistletoe Lane. Then make two of the 6" blocks shown on page 26 in the book. Now you'll need to turn them into a larger chunk of "fabric" from which you'll cut the stocking shape.

Sew a 1" x 6 1/2" background strip between the two blocks and press toward the strip.

Add a 2" x 13" strip to the right side and a 6" x 13" strip to the left side. Press towards the solid fabric.

Sew a 4" x 13 1/2" strip to the bottom and a 3" x 13 1/2" strip to the top.

Now you have your chunk of fabric! For the rest of the stocking construction, I used a pattern from Kristyne Czepuryk (of Pretty By Hand fame). The pattern is in the Winter 2015 issue of Quilts and More magazine (you can find a copy here and here or at your local shop). I cut out the stocking template. Yes, I know that I destroyed my magazine, but I was just too lazy to make a photocopy! I layered the stocking template behind the fabric so that I could center the blocks.

You can see that I'm a bit maniacal about pinning! Then cut out your stocking front.

Now layer your stocking top onto rectangles of batting and backing and "quilt as desired." I needed to get it done fast, so I did a simple grid, then trimmed the batting and backing flush with the stocking shape.

Now just follow the rest of Kristyne's instructions and you'll soon have a stocking! Her pattern actually shows several different types of stockings - one with a lace cuff, one with applique, and one with the top ruffle that I made. I'd suggest using a walking foot to sew your stocking together (if you have one) because you'll be sewing through a LOT of layers of fabric and batting.

And here's where I got a little crazy. I decided that our cats, Chloe and Mia, also needed their own stockings. They're tiny, but the perfect size for a felt mouse or two.

(Oops, I forgot to put the felt mice into the stockings! That's Santa's job, anyway.)

For the mini stockings, I used a pattern by Fig Tree Threads called "Mini Stockings." It's from a few years ago, but it's still available on the Fig Tree website here.

Now just bring on the cookies and we are all ready for Santa!

Fat Quarter Shop has created their own fun version of Lori's block. It's called Great Granny Circled, and Kimberly has a tutorial video for the block here. Several bloggers have already showed their own twist on the block earlier this week, and the full lineup is here. Today's bloggers showing their GGST (that's Great Granny Squared Twist!) blocks are:

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope that you enjoy putting your own twist on the Great Granny Squared blocks. If you make the stockings, please provide a link back to my blog - and besides, I'd love to see them!









fig tree mini stems quilt

I started and finished another Christmas quilt... in two days! It's the Mini Stems quilt by Fig Tree and Co. It measures just 19" x 25" and it can be made with a 5" charm pack and some additional background and border fabric. There is also a full-sized Stems quilt pattern that uses a jelly roll to create the leaves. I knew that the mini quilt would be the perfect way for me to test the pattern without a major time commitment. As an additional incentive, the mini quilt was this month's quilt along project hosted by A Quilting Life and Pink Pincushion

I've mixed red and green prints from several different Fig Tree collections. I used Strawberry Fields, Avalon, Tapestry, and the current Somerset collection. Everything I needed was already on my shelves. I didn't need to buy anything!

Each of those little leaf units measures 2" x 3". The corners are made with a stitch-and-flip construction, and I squared up my corners (with a square Omnigrid ruler and rotary cutter) throughout the process. This helped to ensure that my stems would grow straight up. I did not want wobbly stems! I tweaked the pattern slightly so that I could cut my borders from a fat quarter instead of buying yardage. It worked perfectly. My border is a taupe houndstooth Somerset print. It reminds me of wicker or rattan, and I think it's an elegant way to tone down the reds and greens. 

And Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers! I think that many of you know that I live in NYC, and today I went to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I LOVE this parade. It's magical to see those balloons in real life!

I've attended the parade several times over the years. There are the happy balloons that we all know so well - Snoopy, KoolAid, the fireman, the stars, as well as the newer balloons like Hello Kitty and the dragon from How To Train Your Dragon. The bands play as they march, and thousands of clowns throw confetti at the crowd.

But here are some things that you might not have known. The musical acts perform right in front of Macy's, and only invited guests can watch them. So the rest of the 3.5 million viewers (yes, really!) see floats go by with bundled-up anonymous performers. I didn't even see Kiss, even though they performed at the Macy's stop. And seriously, I am ok with that. After all, I saw Cookie Monster, Elmo and Oscar the Grouch dancing in their house. I saw Mr. Peanut waving from his peanut-on-wheels. Who needs anything else?

Oh, and more details that you don't see on tv. There are metal barricades lining the parade route, and police shut off many of the streets. The bomb-sniffing dog was next to me while helicopters circled above. And yet, the crowd is cheery and friendly. While many people arrived as early as 6am to claim their spaces, I got there just as it was kicking off with Thomas the Train and I saw everything just fine. It snowed and I shivered. Should I mention that there are no bathrooms? But it's really a priceless experience. If you ever have the opportunity to see this, be sure to go, because I can assure you that you and your kids will remember it forever. Happy Thanksgiving!