What Shade Are You FQ Bundle Giveaway

Hello Friends, I am excited to share the news that RJR Fabrics is generously sponsoring a giveaway of a FQ Bundle of fabrics used to my Blueberry Pie House!

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Leave a comment between now and this Friday, and tell me what shade you are, in order to win this FQ bundle! Winner will be announced next Monday.

Little House on the Hill in AUSTRALIAN QUILTERS COMPANION (Issue 79)

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Hello Friends, and Happy Monday (what’s left of it at my end!).  I came through a mostly working weekend, and was able to ship out a quilt top this morning!  Today’s post is a celebration of friendship across the deep vast ocean — I am happy to share with you a collaborative project between myself and Lynette Anderson, featured in the latest issue of Australian Quilters Companion — Little House on the Hill!

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This sweet little wallhanging is made with Lynette’s new fabric line Highland, released by RJR Fabrics.  I was particularly excited about this line with Lynette’s artwork being presented in richer colors!  Little house on the Hill is the first of three editorial features I have using these fabrics!

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Though small, this project covers applique, straightforward and template piecing – perfect for a teaching project!

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So the applique is done by machine fusible method.  The buttonhole stitches are done with Aurifil 50 wt cotton.

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The quilting is also done with the Aurifil 50 wt cotton over Hobbs Tuscany silk batting.  I used a variegated thread.

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And I also pressed the seams open for the template pieced blocks.IMG_1934

The full instructions with templates for the piecing and applique (& stitchery) come with the magazine issue.  For my US friends, you may purchase or subscribe to the magazine in digital format by clicking here.  I have heard from some of you who subscribe digitally that you have been really happy with your subscription.  THANK YOU for sending me your feedback.  I highly recommend this magazine!  I am bringing it with me to sneak in some reading while I am taking notes during Miss Baby’s music lesson! :o)

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Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have a most lovely week!  Hugs to you all.

My 2016 Line-up

Note:  You may click here for the exhaustive list of my published work.

Editorial Features:

American Patchwork & Quilting 2016 Calendar: In Your Corner

Australian Quilters Companion: Little House on the Hill

Fons and Porter Love of Quilting (March/April 2016): Constellation of Stars

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2016): Estelle

Fons and Porter Scrap Quilts (Summer 2016): Pinwheel Parade

McCall’s Quick Quilts (December 2015/January 2016): Rows of Roses

McCall’s Quick Quilts (February/March 2016): Early Birds

McCall’s Quilting (January/February 2016): Sherbet Stars

Quiltmaker (May/June 2016): Lavender Love

Quiltmaker (July/August 2016): Dawnstar

Quilters Newsletter (April/May 2016): Tartan Links

Quilts and More (Summer 2016): Tutu Cute

 

Free-to-use Designs:

January: Heads Up Crib Quilt & Playmat (Quilting Treasures)

January: Big Love using Go Big or Go Home (Windham Fabrics)

January: Star Dust using Brittany (Benartex)

January: Wish You Were Here (Hoffman Fabrics)

January: Farfalle using Whisper (Windham Fabrics)

January: Tulips Quilt using Flower Pedals (Windham Fabrics)

RJR Fabrics What Shade Are You? Blog Hop!

What Shade Are You Logo 2016

Well, you could probably guess… :)

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Being a part of this blog hop has been one of the ways I chased off the blues from missing Spring Quilt Market at Salt Lake City. TOTALLY lame pun!  :o)  Come meet my Blueberry Pie House wallhanging!

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Working on Blueberry Pie House has been a personal challenge to me to see if I could design a quilt from one main color group of solids.  It was really fun, and I have really liked the effect of the blues mixed in with the grays.

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See the grapevine wreath quilted on the door?  I have to say that wreath is probably my favorite thing on the entire quilt. :)

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You see why with all the blues, I named my little wallhanging Blueberry Pie House….

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And I even quilted “blueberries”…. they are basically just swirls that stand out from being quilted in a tighter fashion! You can read about my basic swirls here, and once you master the curves, you can have a lot of fun modifying the motifs for various purposes/looks.

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If you take a good look, and I hope you can see it…. these blueberries and background quilting are quilted with a light light blue thread.  I like the subtle blue quilting that shows on the white solid.  You can also read about my thoughts on subtle contrast in quilting here and, and the eventual curating of a thread collection for Aurifil here.

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One other thing I was really thrilled about was how the solids highlighted the quilting so well.  I don’t often work with just solids.  So, I think working on Blueberry Pie House just opened up a whole new world to me!

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The other thing I wanted to point out is that I think I am getting more adventurous in my old age.  I used to only quilt with Aurifil’s 50 wt cotton.  For Blueberry Pie House, I actually used the 40wt, except for the blueberry/background quilting where I still used the 50wt (only because I didn’t have a light light blue in the 40wt). I hope you can see the difference in thread weight makes between the background quilting (50wt), and the pebble quilting done on the house (40wt).  You can read about my review on the Aurifil 40wt here.

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Well, would you like to make this little wallhanging?  It is not large – only 24″ x 26″.  Head on over to Quilt With Love for information on pattern download.  Meanwhile, my thought wanders to a nice break with a piece of blueberry pie and a cup of coffee! :)

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Have a great weekend, Friends.  I shall catch up with you later!

The clues are in the…

… blues (and a bit of gray)!  Hello Friends, I have been working on something that will be revealed tomorrow!  And the clues are in these Cotton Supreme solids made by RJR Fabrics.  Of course, you aren’t surprised when I picked the blue fabrics to play with, are you?

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And here is another clue for you — the sweet little “grapevine” wreath I quilted! :)

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Come back tomorrow for more pictures, and the reveal!  Meanwhile, I hope you have had a great week!  What has been the highlight of your week so far?

Tips on Pinwheels

Pinwheels – a quintessential building block in quilting!

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I thought I would share a few things I do to get the pinwheel points to match up!

#1.  I use Aurifil cotton 50 wt thread for piecing.  The finer weight helps me tremendously in achieving precision when I piece!  With this thread, I am able to get the fine thread with the strength to holdup the seams.

#2.  In constructing the half-square-triangles, I always (always!) make them bigger, and then trim them to size.  For example, for a 3″ finished HST unit, instead of the conventional measurement that would have me cut my squares at 3 7/8″, I would cut mine at 4 1/2″.  The resulting HST units would be a bit larger than 3 1/2″ — which allows me to trim them to exactly 3 1/2″x 3 1/2″ square without the unit being wonky!

I also press my seams open – that way, I can treat my HST units as it they are squares after they are trimmed to size.

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In the picture below, the goal is to trim my HST units to 4″ x 4″ (raw edge to raw edge).  So, I will line up the diagonal seam of the HST unit to the 45-degree line on the quilting ruler, as shown in the sequence below.

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#3.  Now, I am ready to sew the top two HST units together to make one half of the block.

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The key is good pinning for this step — I make sure the diagonal seams of both HST units match perfectly before pinning.  This is how I check to make sure the diagonal seams.  Once I am happy with how the diagonal seams match, I place a fine patchwork pin where the seams match.

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To keep the seams keep matching when the HST units are sewn, I kind of have to let my machine “sew over” the pin — which they tell you is a no, no!  But I do that really carefully, and only with the finest patchwork pin I can find (made by Clover).  [Disclaimer: You are free to NOT sew over the pin if you aren’t comfortable doing so.  And if you do, always be very cautious, and not to sew ON the pin.] Then, I press the seam open — and on the right side, you see that the points at the valley match up quite nicely.

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#4.  After I get two block halves made, I am ready to sew my pinwheel block together.  Again, I match up the V’s at the seam, place a fine patchwork pin to hold the matching-up point in place.  Sew, and press my seam open again — and watch the point meet up at the block center!

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I had the chance to teach precision in piecing quilt blocks at a Craft Festival last year.  To my surprise, 85% of the students who signed up hardly had any piecing experience.  I did have to do an improv block because of the needs of the students being a bit off-course.  However, I learned a very important lesson.  Even beginners can achieve accuracy in piecing when they are shown simple and careful tricks!  I am proud to say all the ladies left the class that day with VERY impressively accurate blocks!

And that’s what this post is about — sharing a few tricks I use that might be helpful to your piecing (if you aren’t already using these tricks yourself).

Nosy mind wants to know… Might you have any tricks you use when you make pinwheels? I should dearly like to know, and try them out myself.  Thank you for visiting!  Hugs to you all!

Aurifil DOM 2016 Block 5 is here & Patchwork Bears

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As many quilters know, this week is Spring Market in Salt Lake City, and it affects the goers, and the non-goers alike! For non-goers like me, besides waiting with great anticipation for pictures posted online, I will be working on the new Aurifil Designer of the Moth 2016 Block!!! Click here to download the instructions for this month’s block.

Aurifil 2016 Design Team May Amy Friend collage

Some of you wrote to ask about the patchwork bears I posted last week.  I have no pride, and thus I am going to admit to you I didn’t make those bears!  I can quilt, but most of the time, I can’t sew to save my life!!  Many years ago, we hosted a Japanese exchange student.  Upon the return to her home country, this Japanese girl’s mother made and sent me the large pink patchwork bear.  When Miss Baby was born, this sweet lady sent me two more (the large blue and the baby-sized) to complete my bear family.

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As for the pattern, I think it is similar to the one featured in The Embroidered Patchwork Bear, written by Carolyn Pearce.  You can still get the book from Amazon here.

I have been busy getting last minute things happen for a few companies for Market this week. But I hope I will finally be able to make the rounds and visit your blogs sometime this week.  Have a great week ahead.  Hugs to you all!

So…. what are you working on this week?

DONE: My Aurifil Designer of the Month Block 4

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Happy Friends,  I was quite a bit late completing Block 4 of Aurifil’s Designer of the Month Program.  But I finally got it done last week, just in time for the May release on May 15th.  Here it is, done with Windham’s Blush & Blooms fabrics.  Block 4 is designed by Kate Spain.  It is a fun and quick (!) one to make.  Click here if you haven’t downloaded the instructions.

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Here are a few outtakes — as a general rule, I throw out 5-10 shots for every shot I keep.  So you see, I take this blogging business quite seriously. :)

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And here are the previous three blocks I had made with the same Blush & Blooms fabrics.

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That’s all for now, folks.  I have lots more piecing to do within the next few days.  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have had a good week so far.  I shall catch up with you later!

A matter of perspective & My Design-Your Quilt

You see the head shot of me – taken by the photographer when I was filming for one of my online classes last year; and then, you see me – drawn by my portraitist-in-residence.  I think I might have to lay off the rouge a bit…

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Meanwhile, I was most thrilled to receive a picture of another version of my Movement in Squares last week.  Susan H. made Movement in Squares in blues as a wedding.  SO BEAUTIFUL!  And I cannot be more thrilled Susan chose one of my designs. :)

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You may still download the pattern instructions here.

Click here if you would like to see more readers’ projects.

Thank you for stopping by.  I shall catch up with you tomorrow!  Hugs to you.

FREE PATTERN: Baby Sprinkles

Happy Monday, Dear Friends!  I hope you all had a good Mother’s Day weekend!  I actually took things easy over the weekend!  Being outdoors did me good.

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I am happy to share with you a baby/crib quilt design today, using Quilting Treasures’ newly released Baby Sprinkles fabrics.  If you like traditional baby things with a fresh take, do check out the Baby Sprinkles fabrics here. I like that the fabric line comes in baby girl and baby boy colorways.

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Click here to download the free-to-use pattern instructions.

I hope you have liked seeing these sweet crib quilts. :)  They make me miss Miss Baby’s baby days — but then, they also make me not miss those early days, ha!

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a lovely week!

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My 2016 Line-up

Note:  You may click here for the exhaustive list of my published work.

Editorial Features:

American Patchwork & Quilting 2016 Calendar: In Your Corner

Fons and Porter Love of Quilting (March/April 2016): Constellation of Stars

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2016): Estelle

McCall’s Quick Quilts (December 2015/January 2016): Rows of Roses

McCall’s Quick Quilts (February/March 2016): Early Birds

McCall’s Quilting (January/February 2016): Sherbet Stars

Quiltmaker (May/June 2016): Lavender Love

Quilts and More (Summer 2016): Tutu Cute

 

Free-to-use Designs:

January: Heads Up Crib Quilt & Playmat (Quilting Treasures)

January: Big Love using Go Big or Go Home (Windham Fabrics)

January: Star Dust using Brittany (Benartex)

January: Wish You Were Here (Hoffman Fabrics)

January: Farfalle using Whisper (Windham Fabrics)

January: Tulips Quilt using Flower Pedals (Windham Fabrics)

We have a kid-sized win!

Hello Friends, you might remember seeing this right after we had that huge blizzard earlier this year…

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We brought home the ornament with a ribbon from the 53rd Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition yesterday.  The ornament was judged in the Junior Category.

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I couldn’t be more proud of my 7-year old-Miss Baby!  Thanks for stopping by – I’ve got to run for now as I am still catching up on things from when I was gone.  Hugs to you all.

Benartex Fan Favorite 2016: Shimmering Constellation did win!

Hello Friends, thank you for stopping by again!  I received an anonymous comment on my post yesterdayand I thought I would quickly answer the question here:

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Me: Why, thank you!  No, I didn’t attend Paducah this year.  Actually, I never have.  Maybe one day…. when I think my work is display-worthy.  Right now, I think I have a long way to go on the display-worth road. :)  Quilting keeps me learning.

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A few weeks ago, I had alerted you about my Shimmering Constellation making the final round of Benartex Fan Favorite Contest this year.  Well, I am excited to share with you that Shimmering Constellation did win! :)

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You can still download the free to use pattern instructions here.

I haven’t played with Benartex fabrics much this year.  So, I am not sure if you will end up seeing my designs in next year’s Fan Favorite contest, but I have enjoyed being part of the past years’ contests.

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This year’s Benartex Fan Favorite is another win for Sawtooth Star blocks – my favorite star block! :)  And to that, I say YAY with a capital Y!

Thanks for stopping by.  I will catch up with you tomorrow.

A loooong overdue WRAP-UP: Island Batik/Creative Quilts Blog Hop

Hello Friends, I hope you are doing well, and have had a great weekend!  My little family struggled to get our inner clocks adjusted back to the US local time this past week, with only a bit of success.  For most of last week, Miss Baby would go to bed at 4pm after school, and wake up at midnight/1am wanting to be fed — because it is lunch time at the other side of the globe!  How about doing her music practices at 4am because she couldn’t go back to bed? Hahah – totally lopsided, to say the least! :)  And I find myself sending emails to editors at 3am in the mornings because that’s when my mind functions the most coherently.

All that to say… we are still on the path of normalcy at Ivory Spring.  So I will be spending a few posts catching up on things I should have shared back in April.  First up is…. the Island Batik/Creative Quilts blog hop that happened back in March!

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A huge shout out of THANKS to Island Batik for coordinating the hop with their amazing Ambassadors.  I am most appreciative to these ladies for participating in the hop, and have totally admired the “Creative New Quilts” quilts they made with the Island Batik batiks!  I am showing you in one post all the batik quilts made, in comparison to the original quilts in my book Creative New Quilts & Projects.  You may click on the quilt name to go to the specific hop post for the particular project.  The moral of the story is obvious in this case – it’s the “Precuts” fabrics that make the quilts since my book targets fun quilts you can make with the precuts you have stashed away. :)

#1.  Counting my blessings 

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Batik version done by Lemon Tree Snippets.

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#2.  Stars Over Columbia

Stars over Columbia

Batik version made by Mary Mack Made Mine.  

#3.  Winter Blues

Winter Blues

Batik versions made by  Freemotion by the River and  KISSed Quilts.

Island Batik quilt on a swing, pattern by Wendy Sheppard

#4.  Childhood Memories (Girl)

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Batik version made by BeaQuilter.

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#5.  Birds of a Feather Runner

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Batik version made by One Quilting Circle.

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#6.  Birds of a Feather Placemats

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Batik version made by Bejeweled Quilts.

#7.  Care for a Cuppa?

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Batik version made by MooseStash Quilting.

#8.  Flight of Colors Pillow

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Batik version made by Pamela Quilts.

#9. Crossings

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Batik version made by The Fit Quilter.

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I hope you have enjoyed the eye candies presented by these talented quilters.  I am experiencing the aftermath of a personal loss, and more so than ever before, I have experienced the sweet sense of community within the quilting world.  Quilters always reach out, always encourage, and always step up to lend a hand…. THANK you to all my quilting friends — you know who you are!

Till tomorrow.